Give Up The Guilt
November 5, 2018
Verse for the Week: John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Guilt. This is something we all have in common. Daily, we are exposed to this toxic emotion that has the power to paralyze, stunt our growth, and produce a heaviness of shame. Truth is, life is hard. We stumble, and we fall. When we fall, guilt typically follows close behind.
Mostly because we are confronted by choices every day; big and small alike, they carry a heavy burden. And if our choices are not God-honoring, we are exposed to the fruit of guilt. We can eat it and let it sour in our stomach, or offer it up to be redeemed.
In light of this universal affliction, it’s imperative to understand the purpose, the power, and the responsibility we have to honor the gift of forgiveness and the giver of this gift.
Guilt can be traced all the way back to the Garden. Like Adam and Eve, we go to great lengths to cover and conceal our faults. Why do we do this? Because we feel shame.
Guilt says, I did bad. Shame says, I am bad.
Guilt, by itself, is a powerful emotion. But if not adequately dealt with, guilt turns into a stronghold of shame. And shame, in turn, keeps us from intimacy with God.
Some of us have been holding on to a specific guilt for years, unwilling to let it go because we feel as though we deserve punishment. We get stuck in the rut of guilt and wear shame like a scarlet letter.
Consequently, by choosing to hold onto guilt, the weight of wearing it produces a spiritual block. A wall that separates and isolates, making us feel unworthy and distant from God. Try as we might, we can’t find the connection we desire. This diversion of intimacy is spiritual warfare. And we are called to the fight.
Yet our battle is not fought on the ground. Our battle is fought in the spiritual spaces where arguments and pretensions set themselves up against our knowledge of Christ and His gift of forgiveness. The Bible clearly tells us that we must practice this type of mental warfare.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
This type of warfare requires faith. And faith is revealed by action. We must give up the guilt before shame takes root. For only when we do, can we accept the gift of forgiveness. It’s a choice. A verb. An action.
Let’s get personal. Pick one thing you are holding tight; unwilling to let God redeem because shame has set up camp and is demanding penance. Hold it up to the light of the Word. The Word you know to be true:
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1John 4:9-10).
Forgiveness is a gift. Period. A crazy reckless gift wrapped in grace and tied with a beautiful bow of mercy. And just beyond the beauty of forgiveness, is the forever of forgiveness. It is final. It is complete. It lacks nothing. And it is the cornerstone of our faith.
Does this mean we have a free pass? By all means, no. Galatians 5:13 emphatically states we are not to use our freedom to indulge the flesh. Yet, being human, this battle over right and wrong will rage till the day we die.
The harsh reality of the world in which we live is sin reigns strong. We are faced with temptations, thoughts, and attitudes that deny Christ all day long. This should be no surprise to us; the Bible affirms the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Although we can’t completely escape the clutches of sin and guilt, we do have a responsibility to deal with it. Our scripture verse this week reminds us that Jesus died to give us life and freedom—a wondrous and amazing gift of reckless love.
No matter how long you’ve been held hostage by guilt, the response is the same—own your choice and honor His. Confess your sin but accept His gift. We honor Christ and the gift He has given when we choose to live our life with an attitude of gratitude, not guilt.
Lord God, thank you for loving me with reckless abandon. Teach me to honor your gift of forgiveness by giving up the guilt that holds me hostage. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Some of you have been carrying the same guilt for years. Perhaps it’s time to give it up for good and step into the space of gratitude. You are loved. Loved with reckless abandon. A love that leaves the 99 to find you.
Let’s commit to give up the guilt by honoring the gift and the gift giver. Go ahead; freedom awaits.
Click this link to listen: Reckless Love by Cory Asbury
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed, and live in the space of gratitude, not guilt.