Guilt shows up when we ignore the warnings and find ourselves in a compromised situation. The best possible scenario is to go on a mission to fix it, to remedy what we have done and hopefully “clear our consciences”. Depending on the situation, we begin with repentance before our God and ask His pardon, allowing Him to direct us to further action. Further action might involve an apology, restitution, or even confession.
Now let’s look at the verb form of guilt. To make someone feel guilty. We’ve all been there and generally that “guilting” is what drives us to our knees and causes us to turn to the Father for help. However, I would offer another perspective which is “the trouble with guilt.” Although, our Creator God equips us with this “check and balance system” for our behaviors, and meant it for our good, Satan uses it for much, much more.
Satan has a “heyday” with our guilt. He loves to remind us of what we did, who we hurt, what people may or may not be saying about us. He uses guilt to wound our hearts. He uses it all as fodder for his agenda. He loves for us to carry around our guilt long after it has served its purpose. He can and does use any and all guilt to rub a raw spot on our heart. To keep a wound open so that it cannot heal, is his specialty.
Guilt then requires more than going before God for confession and lamenting our sorrow before Him, and seeking a cleansed heart. I know, I know, just let me explain. The other ingredient for achieving forgiveness and abolishing the guilt is belief. Belief that Jesus alone is enough to forgive and redeem. Belief that He separates our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Belief that when we become followers of Jesus Christ we wear His righteousness as a cloak. Our sin disappears. Sin? What sin? None of this is meant to imply that as Christians we cannot or do not sin. As my friend Kathy would say, “au contraire mon frère,” or for those of you who are unfamiliar with my friend Kathy, “oh on the contrary, my friend.” At the risk of losing momentum here, I’d like to give a shout out to Kathy and thank her for teaching me the only French that I know.
We have now established that we all sin (Romans 3:23). What follows should be repentance, a washing of heart by our God of redemption. It is at this point that Satan perks up his ears. For him, the only thing better than us dishonoring God by our actions, behaviors, words, or attitudes, is the ability to bring it up in our minds at every opportunity. This is a chance for him to keep the wound that Jesus died to heal, open and oozing. Yes, indeed I meant oozing like an infected sore.
You see my friend; this open wound will hinder our thinking. It will keep us from being all that God has for us. We cannot be free from our sin unless we embrace the healing balm of Jesus. Let us therefore without further emphasis on Satan’s wily ways, bid adieu to guilt and its power over us, and allow Jesus to make us whole. Let’s staunch the flow immediately and allow God to empower us for His service, healed and whole.