1/19/2012 11:34:00 pm

Guilt and Shame

Posted by Tom French |

I'm preaching on Sunday night on Psalm 130. I preached on it before at a school, but I'm rejigging it because the talk wasn't amazing and it certainly wasn't one I could do for church.

Anyway, the psalm focuses on God's mercy and redemption. It encourages God's people to wait for him expectantly.

I listened to a Tim Keller sermon on the Psalm a few days ago and he reckons there's a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is when you've broken a specific rule, shame is when you haven't lived up to an ideal (yours or someone else's). He says that these days we a lot of people don't feel guilt much because we've worked so hard at encouraging people not to feel guilty. But people still feel shame. They haven't lived up to their own ideals but they're not quite sure what they can do to fix it because they have not absolute morality. That got erased at the same time as guilt was erased.

I'm not sure what I think. I feel like that's a neat way of defining guilt and shame, but I'm still trying to work out if I agree. I'm not sure how people experience guilt and shame. It's not really something we talk about much.

I'm going to spend a bit more time thinking about guilt and shame. I might solve the puzzle. Or I might not. If you have any thoughts about guilt and shame, how they relate, what they are, what the worst thing you've ever done is, that sort of thing, feel free to comment.

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