Our past marks us. Those experiences go into making us the people we are. But some of those experiences we would rather forget. Guilt, shame, and regret can carve deep gashes in our souls—permanent reminders of another life we would prefer to leave behind. But God reminds us that He can free us from the unwanted narrative of past failures and sins. Through Christ, freedom is real and rewarding. And it’s possible for all who follow Him.

Discussion Questions

1. The subject of sin is part of the story of humanity. What is sin? What sins in your past are still a cloud over your head?

2. God dealt a death blow to sin through the death of Christ. Read John 1:29. How did Jesus take away your sin? Compare 2 Corinthians 5:19.

3. In the new covenant, God offers a new strategy for dealing with sin. Read Hebrews 8:12-13 and Romans 11:27. If God knows everything, in what sense does he “forget” your sins?

4. When you think of the word “shame,” what other similar words come to mind. What does shame feel like? When have you most recently felt shame?

5. We might also describe shame as “the feeling of not being enough.” Why is this feeling particularly destructive? When have you experienced the feeling of not being enough?

6. Shame is first mentioned in the earliest description of the first man and woman’s connection with each other and with God. Read Genesis 2:25. Why do you think being “unashamed” is mentioned here?

Further Reading

Resistance Training

Our muscles grow stronger when we repeatedly push against a weight or force. Similarly, as followers of Jesus, we can grow spiritually stronger when we encounter resistance. Today, we’ll identify the three primary forces that push against us on our path towards...

Stages of Growth

While salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity involves a process. It’s one filled with twists and turns and failures and successes. And each stage of our growth requires an awareness of whether we’re a spiritual baby, a young person in the faith or a mature...

Time to Grow Up

Change is part of life. And we can change for good or change for the not-so-good. In the language of the Bible, changing for good is called growth. It’s normal for living things to grow—under one condition—if they’re nourished. In other words, growth doesn’t happen...

Proverbs: The Quest for Character

We might define success by using external qualities like the amount of money someone accumulates or the amount of fame they achieve. However, in the Bible, we find a successful life is defined by our character - our disposition towards qualities like love and...

God Gave

We’ve just come through a time of gift-giving and joy. Of course, the most significant gift of all was God’s gift of Jesus to the world. We find this profound truth simply stated in what might be the most famous of all Bible verses: John 3:16. Maybe this verse is so...