The Problem of Guilt

Sometimes we disappoint – bad behavior, unkind attitudes, unintentional missteps or outright Guilt_Fingersin – we slip up and our actions give others cause to say, “Huh. She’s not much of a Christian!”

We’ve all been there.

Some are gifted with the ability to shake off all high crimes and misdemeanors. “So what! No one’s perfect,” they say.

Then there are those who let minor infractions lead them to depths of gloom. They never let themselves off the hook. Wallowing in guilt is their modus operandi. They deem themselves hopeless. Long after others have forgotten their misdeeds they continue to mentally flog themselves.

Isn’t it good to feel guilt?

Only if it leads to asking forgiveness. Only if there’s an end to it. Guilt that festers eventually damages us and our relationship to God.

Jesus died for all sin. Even the most vile of sins. When a guilty person sincerely asks forgiveness, they are forgiven – forever. The guilt from sin is meant to disappear at the point of forgiveness. But, sometimes it hangs around to torment.

Christians don’t have to live in daily torment.

Peter betrayed Christ. Three times he denied knowing Him. He could have ended up like Judas. He didn’t because he was filled with remorse and asked for forgiveness. He went on to become a pillar of the early church. He preached the gospel to thousands and wrote two books that ended up in the Bible. Peter had reason for guilt but if he had lived in a state of guilt, his accomplishments would have been few.

Whole segments of the Christian church use guilt to motivate believers. They tell us we don’t give enguiltough, do enough, look good enough, act good enough . . . the list is endless. It’s right to preach against sin. It’s right to feel guilty for unforgiven sin. But it’s not right for the forgiven to live in a state of guilt.

In the greatest chapter of the Bible, Paul began with these words: “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Isn’t that liberating? No condemnation.

John wrote: “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) This cleansing includes the wiping away of all guilt.

To those of tender conscious, those so easily made to feel guilty, the Lord says:  As high as heaven is over the earth,  so strong is my love to those who fear me. Psalm 103:11

Lay down guilt and walk in the freedom of Christ.

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book coverRose McCormick Brandon is the author of four books, including One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. To purchase books, visit her website at: writingfromtheheart.webs.com and read her blogs Promises of Home and Listening to my Hair Grow.

 

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About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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