The Color of Shame


Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no… shame will darken their faces. Psalms 34:5

What does shame look like? If you had to draw a picture of shame, what colors would you use? 

Dark colors come automatically to mind, even in the Psalms. Shame darkens our faces. No one who carries shame is radiant with joy. Shame shows up in hollow smiles, lowered eyes, and even our complexions appear dull and lifeless. When we wear our shame, it is as though a label is plastered across our foreheads announcing our unworthiness.

This verse contrasts those who wear shame vs. those who look to God for help. But how do we do that? How can we look God in the face knowing what we know about ourselves? 

Notice this verse does not say “when we look to God,” it says “when we look to God for HELP.” Often we look to God with excuses, with justifications, or with explanations for why we did what we did. We can pray all night, but the shame remains because we are trying to negotiate. However, God offers a full pardon to everyone who comes to Him for help. His help means we that accept that Jesus shed His blood for sins such as these. We humbly accept a forgiveness we don’t deserve. And if He can forgive us, He expects us to forgive ourselves. To refuse to forgive ourselves is to exalt our standard over His. When we come to Him for His help, He replaces our shame with joy.


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