Yes this is the season of Lent, a time of prayer and repentance, penitence and fasting. It is a time to draw closer to God and to let him do a work in our hearts, but just so we don't go overboard here, let's talk about GUILT for a minute.
We all have it for sins real and imagined. Sometimes the conviction comes from God and sometimes we are just our own worst enemies. Here is the main point of today's post:
God does not intend for us to hang on to our guilt, roll around and wallow
in it, wear it like a scarlet "S" around our necks, and repeatedly bash ourselves
with it. If we do that then the cross was for nothing!
He came to give us abundant life: John 10:10
He came to set us free: John 8:32
He died to bring us forgiveness: John 3:16
He promised- PROMISED - to forgive us: 1 John 1:9
He removes our sin far from us: Psalm 103:12
How many more scriptures can you think of that speak of God's love and forgiveness? Write them down in your journal and read them over and over again asking God to let the message in His word sink deep into the hidden places of your heart where you keep your shame and guilt hidden from the rest of the world.
Counselors often confront their clients with the idea of secondary gain.
- "What do you gain by staying in this unhealthy relationship?"
- "What do you gain by taking on more than your share of work?"
- "What do you gain by never speaking up for yourself?"
Those questions almost always surprise people and they are often offended by them. The truth is, though, when it comes right down to it, there IS something they are getting: attention, sympathy, pats on the back, etc... There is a reason why people don't let go of the things that are bad for them.
Now, how does that relate to you and guilt? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Only you can know for sure under God's leadership.
Are you holding on to guilt for something that you have already received forgiveness for? Do you believe, somewhere deep inside that you don't deserve to be forgiven? Well you're right, you don't deserve it! Thank God that he is compassionate enough and loves us enough to not give us even a little bit of what we deserve!
Grace and mercy. That's what we get. Sometimes we just need to accept it and be grateful. It's easier said than done, but here's a way to do it.
Whenever you start to feel guilty about something:
- first make sure that you have confessed it and asked God's forgiveness
- ask forgiveness of others as needed
- speak God's promises (scriptures) of forgiveness out loud and claim them
- PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE: praise God for what he has done in your life. Thank him for forgiving you and for using whatever it is you feel guilty about to bring you closer to him.
- Make it a point to praise anytime you feel guilty. This takes your focus off of your "feelings" - which is right where Satan wants it to be - and puts it back on God, where it should stay.
If you do these things you will be overwhelmed with the presence and power of God in your life. You will - IN HIS POWER - release the guilt and live in his victory.
There is a place for conviction. God's Holy Spirit lives in us to convict us of sin, not to batter us into pitiful little puddles of useless, defeated, spiritual mush. It is God's way of shaping us to be more like him. He chastises those whom he loves!
If you are holding on to guilt today ask for God to help you release it. He died on the cross for you because he never intended for you to live under a cloud of guilt, but rather as his child, claiming his victory every day.
Ask yourself what purpose your guilt serves. Be honest. Ask God to help you take a good honest look into your heart.
You are forgiven!
Accept it, claim it, and live like it.
Remember: it is difficult to share the love and forgiveness of Jesus with others with sincerity and integrity if we are unwilling to accept it for ourselves! Think about it.
I have prayed for you today.