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Shame + Guilt = Unworthy - Encouragement Café - July 15, 2015

Shame + Guilt = Unworthy

Café Menu for Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Today’s Special is:  What To Do When You Feel Unworthy

Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Jill Beran

Main Ingredient:

And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

Luke 15:21 NASB


Shame and guilt are feelings I’ve experienced, how about you?  

Perhaps before you answer this question, we should take a minute to get a better understanding.  According to Merriam-Webster, guilt is defined as “the state of one who has committed an offense” and shame is “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.”

Does this sound like something you can relate to?

We often think of guilt and shame as bad emotions and sometimes they are.  But other times we experience them for different reasons and God can use the feelings we want to avoid.

Friend, before I continue, I want to share a little story.  As an athlete, I remember my coach telling our team, “When you lose, you should feel bad.”  He didn’t share these words to hurt us or because he was a bad coach, but instead because he knew what we were working for and believed we could be better.  As a teen I didn’t always appreciate his perspective, but as an adult I understand it better.

As Christians, I believe we could tweak his statement and simply say, “When you sin, you should feel bad.” Sin is what separates us from a holy God and when we sin, it should hurt.  

Guilt and shame can be part of these bad feelings and together, they often leave me feeling unworthy.  When this happens, we must remember that though God convicts, Satan condemns.  So what are we to do?

Friend, my coach didn’t want us to stay in the low place that defeat brings and God didn’t create us to live with feelings of unworthiness.  In His Word, He provides an example to follow when we find ourselves feeling unworthy.

Our key verse today is from the story of the prodigal son… the boy who wanted his inheritance and got his wish only to realize it didn’t lead to what he expected.  As the story ends, we find him feeling unworthy and doing what we must do.  

He returned to his father, shared his heart, struggles and mistakes.  He even admitted to feeling unworthy.  His father doesn’t shun him, add to his shame or leave him feeling guilty.  He embraced him with open arms and assured him of his value.

Friend, when we are wrestling with shame and guilt, I pray we’ll do the same.  Our heavenly Father created us, loves us and has forgiven us!

Take Out:

Open your Bible to Luke 15 and read the story of the prodigal son in verses 11-32.  

Whether your feelings of shame and guilt are warranted or not, take some time and give them to God.  Just like the father in the story, He longs to hear from His child.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being my Abba, my Father, one who loves me like no other.  Lord, help me to deal with feelings of shame and guilt.  I ask for Your help in understanding where they come from and Lord, if it’s because of my sin, forgive me and help me repent.  Lord, if these feelings are a result of Satan’s lies help we replace them with Truth from Your Word.  Thank you for the opportunity to come to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

For more encouragement, visit Jill at Titus24U where you will be encouraged to connect with God and other women.

© 2015 by Jill Beran.  All rights reserved.

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