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.
  • SHAME is seeing oneself as lesser than other people.

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?

The solution

God called us to live a humble life:

Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. -- Luke 9:23-24

This is not to be confused with shameful life of regret of past mistakes.

When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? -- Romans 6:20-21 (ESV)

Shame is an uncomfortable feeling of guilt or of being ashamed because of your own or someone else's bad behaviour -- Cambridge Dictionary


Humility is the feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others; lack of pride -- Cambridge Dictionary

Let's consider a real life example like, Paul who was a renowned Jewish leader who was reduced to a poor follower of Christ, often imprisoned, beaten and slandered by people speaking poorly of him. But Paul says:

I am not ashamed of the gospel... -- Romans 1:16

Paul could have crawled into a hole and hide from society (in shame), but instead we read in the book of Acts that he went public in boldness at the cost of his own life (humility). He was humble enough to proclaim the gospel even if his actions displeased the people, because if found his identity and value in God.

Finding your identity in your heavenly Father

If your heavenly Father has adopted you to be his child:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are -- 1 John 3:1 (ESV)

... then it no longer matter what people's opinions are about your life, because your Father will be your identity. God will be your future, your help, your wisdom, your honour, your guide, your provider and your love.

Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. -- Romans 10:11 (NKJV)

But, do you really believe your Father?