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Overcoming Guilt, Shame and Condemnation

Without question, a sinner’s identity is a before-Christ or before-conversion identity. Our new identity, after our conversion is that of a saint who sins, not a sinner who is sometimes a saint.

Guilt, shame and condemnation (the sinner’s penalty) are before-conversion states of mind or feelings. They should have nothing to do with your walk and relationship with Jesus today. That kind of penalty is not part of His kingdom—God does not use shame and condemnation with his kids.

Before we go to far, let’s have some common understanding. Cloud and Townsend, wrote in their book 12 “Christian” Beliefs that Can Drive You Crazy, “Shame is a painful feeling of having lost the respect of others by our own improper behavior . . . guilt describes our self-condemnation for what we do, while shame shames us for who we are. You feel guilty for yelling at your child; you feel shame for being a bad parent.”[1] None of these feelings is something God wants or encourages.

The reason so many believers retain these strongholds is because they allow them to keep them in bondage. They make the choice. They wear them and they own them because they keep beating themselves up, they let other people beat them up, or they allow the devil to keep pounding them with false accusations. People are also deeply affected by the result of things that happened to them where they were completely innocent—they were defenseless yet they were told it was somehow “their fault.”

Can you see how God doesn’t operate this way?

John 3:17–18 gives us His perspective. Jesus is talking and He says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Would be saved! That’s God’s intention. You do not need to feel the condemnation caused by guilt and shame because Jesus came to save us from all of that. He didn’t come to condemn. He saves us from our sinner’s identity and the sinner’s penalty.

Friends, salvation isn’t just to save us from Hell. It’s to save us from the enemy who wants us living unfulfilled lives held captive by strongholds like shame and guilt.

If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ and caught in this trap of guilt, shame and condemnation, we need to pull them down through the power of God’s Word and prayer. We developed something called “Pre-Scriptures.” These are prayers directly from Scripture that are the right prescription for what you may be feeling today. In another Blog post we offered a Pre-Scripture on unforgiveness and below is one to help you overcome guilt, shame and condemnation. I encourage you to print this out or bookmark it. You can pray this every day, all day if you need to in order to pull down and crush these debilitating strongholds. Remember, God doesn’t want you living in guilt, shame and condemnation. He came to save you from them.

Sinner’s Identity, Shame and Condemnation Pre-Scripture Prayer

Father, I know that I am what I am because of Your grace alone (1 Corinthians 15:10).

It’s not because of my own works or effort. (Ephesians 2:8).

My boast is in Jesus Christ alone (Galatians 6:14).

Thank You for my salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Thank You for my sanctification (Hebrews 10:10,14).

Thank You for my justification (Romans 5:1).

Thank You for my reconciliation (Colossians 1:21).

Thank You for my identification (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I am a saint.

I am the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I am the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).

I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

I am a child of God (Galatians 3:26).

I’ve been made one with God (John 17:21).

God calls me friend (John 15:15).

I know and believe that I am blessed, chosen, holy, blameless, loved, adopted, accepted, favored, redeemed, forgiven and sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-11).

I know and believe I have been made alive in Christ and raised to sit in heavenly places in Christ, far above all demonic power (Ephesians 2:5-6).

I know and believe I have direct access to You Father (Ephesians 2:18).

I know and believe that my inheritance is guaranteed and that I am a fellow citizen with the other saints in the household of God (Ephesians 1:11, 2:19).

Because I’m in Christ I’m not condemned now or ever (Romans 8:1).

Because I’m in Christ, there is no valid, condemning charge against me (Romans 8:33-34).

Because I’m in Christ, there is no shame I’ll own, wear, or ever be put to (Romans 10:11).

I renounce the identity of “sinner.” I renounce shame and condemnation.

I repent of believing lies that have held me back and kept me looking down.

I believe I am everything God says I am from this day forward, and forever more, in Jesus Name, Amen!

[1] Henry Cloud, John Townsend, 12 “Christian” Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy: Relief from False Assumptions, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1994, 1995), 150.

3 responses to “Overcoming Guilt, Shame and Condemnation”

  1. Steve, awesome truths and prayer for our freedom! I have found help for myself and others to do as you have advised with someone else or others; don’t go it alone. Opening up the Bible and the book of ourselves, our life stories; to be unburdened, forgiven, forgive, repent, be comforted, be encouraged, and be accountable with safe, caring people is a great way to freedom.

  2. Dena says:

    Thank you! I’ve battled through guilt over my divorce. It was a result of his infidelity, but I’ve still experienced shame and guilt. I’ve recently found myself in the spotlight because of some recent writings that have been published. Sadly, many readers have chosen to condemn me for my divorce rather than encourage me in my battle for purity. I’ve found myself battling shame and condemnation again–something I thought I had put to rest. I keep reminding myself (and readers) that I answer to an audience of One–and I stand before Him with clean hands and a pure heart!

  3. […] he turned into prayers that replace the enemy’s lies with Biblical truth. I keep these “Pre-Scripture Prayers” in my purse and Recognize, Replace, and Repeat out loud many times a […]