Shame Undone

Dr. Brook Bello

by Dr. Brook Bello

Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.



As the founding CEO of More Too Life, an organization committed to preventing human trafficking and aiding its survivors, I have encountered substantial challenges associated with leadership in many areas, especially when establishing my prevention program and working with men, boys, and fathers. In my studies on collective trauma and mental resilience, I’ve discovered one of the most formidable obstacles we confront in our mission is the insidious emotion of shame, which is often synonymous with guilt and regret. Shame has a way of infiltrating our hearts and minds, causing us to question our decisions, self-worth, capabilities, and our leadership, particularly as women of faith. But shame can be undone, as we learn from others' stories of courage.

There is hope when you are faced with shame. Let's turn to Scripture to explore how you can triumph over shame and step into your leadership role with confidence. Shame, at its core, is rooted in fear, a potent emotion that can have a profoundly detrimental impact on our lives, fostering feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and isolation.

1. Understanding the Roots of Shame

Shame is not a novel struggle. In Genesis 3:7-10, we come across Adam and Eve's reaction to their sin:

"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?' And he said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.'"

Adam and Eve's immediate response to their wrongdoing was to hide from God. This mirrors what shame does to us—it compels us to conceal ourselves and evade the very purposes God has destined for us.

2. Overcoming Shame Through Faith

The antidote to shame is grace. It is in our imperfections that God's power radiates most brilliantly. As Christian women in positions of leadership, we must welcome our flaws, understanding that they are the very places where the Holy Spirit operates most potently through us.

It is the Holy Spirit—and not our perfect track record—which gives us spiritual authority. In 2 Corinthians 10:8, we see apostle Paul realizing that he needed to embrace his authority, regardless of his past actions against the Gentiles:

"I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn't tear you down. So, I will not be ashamed of using my authority."

Walking in our God-given authority is an act of grace that encourages us to activate our faith.

3. Navigating Feelings of Shame

Shame often creeps in when we fall short of our own or others' expectations. It is vital to remember that God offers redemption. His act of redeeming us underscores His love and the notion that we should never compare ourselves to others. 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT) is particularly illuminating, much like the Apostle Paul's emphatic explanation:

"Oh, don't worry; we wouldn't dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!"

While Paul might seem to be speaking sarcastically here, I admire his honesty to no longer compare himself with others. As a passionate believer, he understood that those who think they’re better than others are not using the Lord as the standard. If God has redeemed us, no one else’s judgment or comparison matters (Romans 8:33-34).

4. Practical Steps for Overcoming Shame

In our leadership journey, several practical steps can help us surmount shame:

• Replace Negative Self-Talk.
• Embrace Failure: Do not fear failure; it serves as a stepping stone to growth and learning.
• Practice Self-Compassion.
• Renew Your Mind: Embrace your imperfections, knowing that God is made strong in our weaknesses.

Proverbs 25:2 NKJV states: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” This reminds us that we should diligently seek and spend time with God.

Let us search out God’s truth about these things and rise above shame!

When you find yourself burdened by shame, bring your feelings to the foot of the Cross. Forgive those who have wronged you, confess your shortcomings, and receive His grace through faith. In this process, we shed the heavy cloak of shame and walk in freedom.



Dr. Brook Bello is an ordained minister, actress, author and the founder of  A survivor and champion against human trafficking, her experience as an activist, advocate, and thought leader allows her to bring critical perspective, depth, advocacy and hope to the root causes of human trafficking. Her new book Shame Undone came out in November 2023, and she is happily married with two fur babies.