Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Donald Hilliard's new book, After the Fall: Resurrecting Your Life from Shame, Disgrace, and Guilt, (Destiny Image Publishers, 2007).

Shame is like a weight that pulls you down every time you try to rise toward your God-given destiny. No matter what has caused your shame – filing for bankruptcy, struggling with an addiction to alcohol or pornography, losing your job because of a mistake you made, or anything else – God wants to help you overcome shame so you can fulfill His purposes for your life.

Here’s how you can overcome shame:

·        Make a crucial choice. Decide whether you want to continue to allow shame to fill you with the poison of bitterness and rob your confidence and energy, or whether you want to do what it takes to turn your life around from shame and toward God. If you decide that you’re tired of wasting time living in shame, choose to embrace God’s mercy and invite Him to lead you through the healing process.

·        Surrender your fears to God. Consider what tragedies plague you and your family and cause you shame – such as a legacy of divorces, financial ruin, drug addiction, or mental illness. Be honest with God about how these scare you and make you feel as if you’re not worthy enough to live a healthy life. Consider how your fears have led you to make mistakes of your own, that have led to more shame. Then surrender all of these situations to God, realizing that He is able to redeem your past and guide you into a better future. Trust God to help you overcome anything when you rely on His unlimited power.

·        Take responsibility. Stop making excuses for your own sins and the sins of those close to you. Take personal responsibility for the mistakes you’ve made, acknowledge that you were wrong, and realize that you don’t have to be a victim of anyone else’s choices.

·        Let the bad move you toward the good. Realize that even though shame is bad to wallow in, it can be a powerful tool to move you toward something good – repentance. Repent by changing the direction of your life to move away from sin and toward God. Stop doing the things you were doing to produce shame. If you can’t break free of a particular behavior that has caused you shame, ask God to kill that behavior before it kills you. Pray for God’s help to end the affair, break the addiction, or remove whatever other stumbling block is standing in the way of your spiritual progress.

·        Renounce everything in your life that doesn’t please God. Don’t just feel sorry that you did something you know doesn’t please God. Go a step beyond that by deciding that you’ll have absolutely nothing more to do with that behavior anymore, for any reason. Beware if you catch yourself twisting Scripture to try to justify wrong behavior, or explaining your wrong behavior to other people in the hope that they’ll understand you and condone your actions. Don’t be deceived; pray regularly for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so you can embrace biblical truth. Every time a persistent sin tries to pop up in your life, forbid it from entering and contaminating your life by renouncing it in prayer. Understand that by renouncing everything that is not like God, you free yourself to embrace everything that is like God so you can start living a life that pleases Him and is free of shame.