What an ugly word. The term “guilt” brings to mind so many emotions and memories doesn’t it? If I were to ask you what you felt guilt over in your life, instantly a situation comes to mind. Something you said or did that you feel bad over and wish you could go back and change.
Many years ago, as a young woman, I felt guilty about so many things.
- My short comings as a woman
- How I raised my children
- The imperfect relationship between my husband and I
- My imperfection as a Christ Follower
- My messy house
- My empty check book
- Things that my children wanted to have and do, that I couldn’t make happen
- Friendships that struggled
- My lack of self-control
- My weight
- My “mouth”
You name it. I felt guilty about it. And somewhere back there, I realized that guilt is a tool that Satan uses against women, specifically.
Hear me out. If you talk to most men, you will find that out guilt is not a huge part of their daily life. They may feel it, but it doesn’t seem to permeate and monopolize their thought life the same way that it does women.
At some point we have all felt guilt, and sometimes we needed to.
Maybe we have wronged someone, said something out of line, or reacted in anger before we had all the facts. Those can be times when God will use our feelings of remorse to gently lead us into repentance and move us forward to forgiveness. Because He loves us, He often lets us experience the consequences of sin to encourage us to change.
Often though, the enemy will use those same feelings of conviction from the Holy Spirit, against us. He will press them to the extreme, and use them to create unnecessary shame and guilt to attempt to hold us hostage. In those times when your conscience is clear or when you have confessed your sin to the God, and the feelings of shame and condemnation persist, you can be sure that the enemy is at work.
Romans 8:1 says “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus”. The Holy Spirit will use our raw emotions to guide us as we continue to grow and develop spiritually in life. But He will NEVER condemn us. If you belong to Christ, you cannot be condemned! That is great news friend!
When we become aware of the things in our lives that God is lovingly encouraging us to change, that’s when we begin to grow. None of us can be perfect in everything we do. Try as we might, we cannot achieve it. When we recognize that, and allow it to motivate spiritual growth in us, then the Holy Spirit can do His work.
However, when those feelings of guilt continue to grip us and tell us that we “never do anything right” or that we’ll “never be good enough”, that is when we have a problem. We need to try and see those feelings for what they are, a lie. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Be alert! He is lurking around trying to destroy you and me. And sometimes he uses guilt to accomplish this. The enemy will use anything that we let him, to distract us from God’s love and purpose in our lives. Christ came so that we can have a full and abundant life, here and eternally! John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Many times we need to get inside of our own heads, and recall truth from Scripture to dispel and filter through the lies that so easily drift into our hearts.
For years, I have worked on recognizing those feelings of misplaced guilt for what they are. Some are appropriate, but most simply are not. Even though I have been aware of this and pushed against it for a long time, I need to stay alert and look for it. Guilt never really goes away completely, but it does need to learn its proper place!
Knowing the truth, doesn’t mean that those thoughts won’t still plague us from time to time.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says “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.” This means that we can continually lay hold of our own thoughts and bring them into line with what we know is truth. It means that we don’t need to live with continual feelings of guilt. It means that we can choose not to live under the power of our misguided emotions continually. That we can take hold of the negative thoughts that try to keep us a prisoner, and make them “obedient to Christ.”
Friend, we will continue to live depressed and guilty until we know exactly how God feels about us.
So how does He see you?
- You are His child~~1 John 3:1
- You are His workmanship~~Ephesians 2:10
- You are deeply loved~~John 3:16
- You are Holy~~Ephesians 1:4-5
- You are His Friend~~John 15:15
- You are not alone~~Joshua 1:9
- You are a new creation~~2 Corinthians 5:17
If you still struggle to let go of those thoughts, I encourage you to search God’s word for even more answers to the question “Am I loved by God”?
Please allow me to assure you that YOU ARE!
If that is true, then giving guilt a bigger place in our lives than it deserves, is an utter waste of the gift that Jesus gave when He paid the penalty for our sin on the cross.
My hope is that, starting today, you will begin to let go of the feelings of shame over things that are outside of your control, or those things that are in the past. That you will lay them at the foot of the cross and leave them there. That you will begin to live in freedom and abundant life!
Continued guilt has no place in the life of a believer!
You and I are FREE, sister!