How Guilt And Shame Can Be Positive By David Lee Chu Sarchet

Recently, I was challenged by one of my readers to write a blog on the different ways that guilt and shame can be positive. Since I am not one to shy away from a challenge, I have decided to write on that topic. However, I would like to say that I do not think that shame is ever truly “positive” in the sense that it is beneficial to one’s mental health. Studies have shown the devastating effects that shame wreaks on a person’s mental health. I do think that there are certain benefits that a healthy sense of guilt and shame do provide though and I will discuss what those are here. The four positive benefits to guilt and shame are the following: 

1) Guilt Drives Us Closer To God 
2) Shame Keeps Us Stable 
3) Guilt Keeps Us Humble 
4) Shame Keeps Us Honorable 

I will now elaborate on each of these points, but first I would like to ask you think of more benefits and share them with me in the comments below. 

Guilt Drives Us Closer To God 

As I write this, I am reminded of Peter right after he denied Jesus three times and immediately felt guilty. After Christ rose from the dead, Peter did not hide from Jesus but instead when he saw the Lord he immediately went to Him. I imagine that even though Peter felt guilty for denying Christ, he did not want to let His guilt drive him away from the Lord, but instead he drew closer. Our guilt over our sins should cause us to do the same. Whenever we feel guilty over a sin, we must take the opportunity to draw closer to Christ and to rest in His forgiveness and grace. 

Shame Keeps Us Stable 

When we have a healthy sense of shame, it will help us to realize that we need to do what we need to do to keep a stable mind. For example, I know that when I am manic I will do embarrassing things in public that will bring shame onto me and my family. It is precisely because of this reason that I always make sure that I take my medication and seek counseling too. If I did not do these things, the result would destroy my mind. 

Guilt Keeps Us Humble 

When we acknowledge our guilt before God, the realization then shows us that we are no better than any other sinner. This knowledge will keep us in a state of true humility as we relate to others. Anyone who looks down their noses on other people have neither understood the magnitude of their own sin nor have they understood the immense grace that is bestowed on all believers on behalf of Christ. 

Shame Keeps Us Honorable 

Whenever we feel a healthy sense of shame, it will cause us to behave appropriately because we will be concerned with how we are perceived by the public. Anyone who says they do not care what the public thinks of then do not understand how their public life can either make the Gospel attractive or repulsive to others.

Our lives should reflect the life of Christ in such a way that people will be drawn to Jesus. It is an unfortunate reality that due to the blatant hypocrisy within the Church many people do not want anything to do with Christianity and Jesus Christ. I believe that this is the reason why the apostle Paul mentioned a few times in Scripture that we are to work quietly with our hands. He also said that one of the requirements of elders in a church is for them to be above reproach. If this were true for elders, how much more true would every Christian need to be above reproach? When I was young in the faith, I was taught to always be mindful of my testimony to unbelievers and there is wisdom in that knowledge. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you found this edifying to you and glorifying to God. May the grace of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ richly bless you all! 

-David Lee Chu Sarchet 
Christian Mental Health Advocate 

Click Here To Read More By David Lee Chu Sarchet

Check Out The Christ-Centered Mental Health Ministry Website

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