Guilt and shame are not the same. As Lewis Smedes once put it, "We feel guilty for what we do. We feel shame for what we are. A person feels guilt because he did something wrong. A person feels shame because he is something wrong."
True. However, Christian psychiatrist and neuroscientist Curt Thompson goes even further in suggesting that shame is used against us to "corrupt our relationships with God and each other, and [to] disintegrate any and all gifts of vocational vision and creativity" in our lives.
The more we keep shame inside, the more it is reinforced in our brains. But Thompson offers hope: We escape from shame by being known – by God and by other people.
To learn more about the reality of shame and its relational healing, watch this energetic and humorous talk by Curt Thompson. For more, pick up Thompson's remarkable book The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Tell About Ourselves.