Is shame sin?

Short answer: "yes"


The bible is clear that pride is sin:

Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. -- Proverbs 21:4

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. -- Proverbs 16:5

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. -- Proverbs 26:12

Shame is often considered the opposite of pride, but it is not.

Instead of being opposites, pride and shame are flip sides of the same coin, since both are exaggerations of the self. -- Olive Me Counseling

  • PRIDE is seeing oneself as better than other people (entitlement).
  • SHAME is seeing oneself as lesser than other people (victimization).

The effect of this is that:

  • Both shame and pride either avoid or impress people.
  • Both shame and pride are distortions of one's actual value.
  • Both shame and pride find their own identity in people's opinions.

But if Paul says:

“I appeal to you, ... present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your spiritual service of worship.” -- Romans 12:1

... but we present our "bodies as a living sacrifice, acceptable" to people, does that not mean we are worshipping people, instead of God? Is this not a form of idolatry?

However, Paul also warns against pride:

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. -- Romans 12:3 (ESV)

The solution

We should not live in either pride or shame. Instead, we need to live in humility, voluntarily serving one another as Christ's Spirit guides us.

“Whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” -- Romans 9:33 (ESV); Romans 10:11; Isaiah 49:23; Joel 2:26-27