Do I Hear Guilt?
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“Guilt!?! Do I hear guilt?” My friend could easily make me laugh. Even though I laughed every time she asked, her question awakened me to the fact that I’d chosen to shoulder guilt rather than let it go.
Guilt feels to me like a heavy, dark secret that others should never see. Yet, something as simple as making a minor blunder with a choice of words or a course of action can send me spiraling down into guilt. Often, it’s twin, shame, would come along for the ride. It could be nothing deep and dark to anyone, except to me! Still the guilt and shame dogged me.
I confided in my friend about everything. She knew things about me that only she and God knew. For years she would ask, “Guilt, do I hear guilt?” Then she would follow with a second question, “Jesus died for that, so why are you carrying it?”
Great question. Why was it so easy to slip into the darkness where my less-than-stellar life events were tucked away? The place where when things went wrong, I believed I deserved it – I knew those secrets. Sometimes it was as simple as, “I should have said this instead of that.” Or “Why did I do that?” Or “When will I learn to think through things instead of embarrassing myself?” You know the questions.
When she moved across the country, I found the person asking those questions was ME! The answers were invariably, “Yes, I DO hear guilt.” and “Yes, Jesus DID die for that.” So, how do I get out from under that burden? I know. I know… repent! (Hearing that very word – REPENT - carried more guilt!)
In chapel one day, I heard a simple teaching that changed everything. When the teacher started talking about ‘repentance’ I had this sinking feeling, “Oh no. That’s all I need, one more message to make me feel worse about myself.”
But it didn’t go that way. He wasn’t preachy or condemning. He simply stated the fact that repent is made up of two Greek words, ‘meta’, meaning change, and ‘noeō’ meaning the mind. It means to change your mind! What a revelation! Think differently.
I had work to do. I had to learn that when I repented, God heard me and forgave me. That’s where I had to change my mind. It is finished! Once I go to Him and say, “Please forgive me”, it is done. That change of mind has carried me a long way.
As I learn to think differently, I am enjoying a new element of freedom I never imagined. Paul had it right when he said,
Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1, AMPC).
Go ahead and read all of Romans 8. Boy-oh-boy! Talk about freedom.
Take Him at His Word, dark places are illuminated with His Life. He has brought us to this point of joy and liberty to empower us to be who we want to be in Him. Better yet, He’s setting us up to live our lives as He designed us from the foundation of the world.
Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).
We live in a guilt-free zone! Thanks to Jesus!
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible (AMPC), Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org.
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