Our Shame and the Gospel

Our Shame and the Gospel

by: Tess Picone

I stared in disbelief at the sight before me. The usually-smooth process of backing my car out of the garage did not play out as it normally does. Today, my garage door took a beating. 


While there were many laughs shared over the complete chaos I created through this minor accident, a narrative slowly started to creep into my mind. What started out as I made a mistake slowly turned into: I’m a failure.


During this moment, I wanted to run and hide. I was embarrassed at the ugliness of my garage door and what it said about me. It was as if my garage door was a billboard for everything I felt on the inside. I seem to exert so much effort to be perfect each day, but I just can’t seem to get away from making mistakes. At times like this one, it leaves me feeling like I am not good enough, like I am a failure—broken beyond repair.


I was feeling shame, which is something we can all struggle with. Often, shame gets the best of us. But there is good news: shame does not have to defeat us. We can find release from its power because shame was defeated on the cross at Calvary. 


What is Shame? 


Shame started in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Before sin entered the world, “Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). In the garden, Adam and Eve felt peace—they were clean, pure, and accepted before one another and before their holy God. 


But a crafty serpent came and introduced sin into God’s beautiful creation. The result? Nothing was ever the same again. Sin marred God’s creation and His people, ushering in shame and all its ugliness. Therefore, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened and they “hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:7–8). 


Adam and Eve were filled with shame because suddenly they felt dirty in front of a holy God. For the first time they felt like outsiders—exposed and vulnerable. So their solution was to run and hide, closing themselves off from each other and from God. 


This is what shame does. Shame is the deep sense that you are inherently flawed, unacceptable, or unworthy of love either because of something you have done, something done to you, or something associated with you.


It’s not just that you made a mistake, but that you feel like you are a mistake or a failure. It’s not just that someone treated you badly, but that they defined you as worthless or dirty through their rejection or violence. It’s not just that you have a weakness, but that you feel less than and not good enough because of that weakness. 


You might feel shame internally, but you also may feel shame before God and before others. You may want to hide from others so they don’t find out the dirtiness you feel inside. Shame can be crippling, leaving you exhausted from constantly hiding. So what is the solution? 


The Gospel


When Adam and Eve hid from God, what did God do? He called out to Adam and Eve, pulling them out of their shame and providing a way for them to deal with it (Genesis 3:9, 21). God covered their shame with a blood sacrifice—clothing them with skins from an animal. God knew their shame and provided for them.  


And God does the same for us. God pulls us out of our shame, not to embarrass us, but to heal us. God knows our sin and shame, and He provided a way out. He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to endure shame by being mocked, betrayed, beaten, and hung on a cross—vulnerable and exposed—to save His people from their sin and shame. 


Jesus experienced our shame in order to destroy the power of shame. Shame was defeated on the cross at Calvary. The cross is the place where our striving can cease. As sinful people, we cannot make ourselves clean. But if we trust in Jesus and what He did on the cross, we receive His goodness and purity. We can be free from shame because He loves us. 

Shame was defeated on the cross | TDGC 

If we trust in Jesus, we receive His goodness | TDGC
We can be free from shame because God loves us | TDGC

Freedom from shame cannot be earned; it comes only from being linked to the One who is infinitely clean and pure. Jesus takes our ugliness—our dirtiness—and covers it with His beauty. Jesus knows our shame. Therefore, we don’t have to hide from Him or anyone else.


So during those moments when shame shows its ugly face, we need to remind ourselves of our need for the gospel. Though we can’t make ourselves clean, God can. There is nothing that the gospel can’t make beautiful. Let’s never forget that. 


For more on finding freedom from shame in Christ, check out our new study, Free from Shame: How the Gospel Redeems Our Past and Pain


Additional Resources for Combating Shame:

Mentioned Products

Free From Shame

How the Gospel Redeems our Past and Pain

The Daily Grace Podcast

We want to invite women to join us in our conversation about our great God, and be encouraged to seek a deeper knowledge of God that leads them to live their lives for God’s glory as they grow in love and awe in response to who He is.