Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘guilt’

Guilt AND Guilt Feelings

SOURCE:  R. C. Sproul

In what way does God use guilt today?

When we talk about God’s using guilt, it sounds strange to many people in our society because there’s a widespread notion that guilt is something that is intrinsically destructive to human beings and that to impose guilt on anybody is wrong. The idea then emerges that God certainly would never use such a thing as guilt to bring about his will with human beings. If he did, that would be beneath the level of purity we would prefer in our deity.

In biblical terms, guilt is something that is real and is objective, and I think it’s very important that we distinguish between guilt and guilt feelings.

Guilt feelings are emotions that I experience subjectively. Guilt is an objective state of affairs.

We see that in our law courts. When a person goes on trial for having broken the law, the question before the jury and before the judge is not, Does the accused feel guilty? but, Is there a real state of affairs that we call guilt? Has a law been transgressed? So it is with God. Guilt is objective in the eyes of God whenever his law is broken. When I break his law, I incur guilt, but I may or may not have guilt feelings about my guilt.

I suspect that behind your question is a concern about how God uses the guilt feelings as well as the actual guilt itself.

One of the most important works of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is what the New Testament calls the conviction of sin. We can be guilty and not feel guilty. David, for example, when he got involved with Bathsheba and went even so far as arranging for her husband to get killed, felt no great remorse until Nathan, the prophet, came to him and told him a parable. The parable was about a man who took for himself a little lamb that belonged to a poor man. David was furious and wanted to know who this man was so that he could be punished. Finally Nathan pointed his finger at David and said, “You are the man.” With the realization of the full import of his guilt, David was broken instantly and then wrote that magnificent song of penitence, Psalm 51, in which he cried out in his conviction of sin before God.

What God does with our guilt and guilt feelings is to bring us to that state in which we are convicted of sin and of the righteousness we’ve fallen short of; he uses those feelings to turn us from disobedience to obedience. In that regard, guilt and guilt feelings are healthy. Just as pain is a necessary sign of the presence of disease, so guilt feelings may often be the divine way of awakening us to our need for redemption.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Tough Questions with RC Sproul is excerpted from Now, That’s a Good Question! Copyright © 1996 by R. C. Sproul.

Advertisements

Abuse: Who Defines My Self-Image?

SOURCE:  Living Free/Janet M. Lerner, D.S.W

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Perhaps you are a victim of spouse abuse. Or maybe you were in the past. Like other abuse victims, you have probably been challenged by the shame, guilt, and false sense of responsibility all victims take on as part of the “victimization” process.

You are probably also dealing with low self-esteem. Abuse attacks self-esteem in several ways. Grant Martin describes these areas in Transformed by Thorns.

They include the following:

  • Sense of being: Who are we in Christ Jesus? As we grow in our understanding of that and learn to cast our cares on Jesus, we can begin to walk in comfort. We develop a sense of well-being that reassures us of the love and healing God has for us.
  • Sense of purpose: Why are we in Christ Jesus? What purpose do we have? What does God plan to do with us? Why did he save us? God wants us to know we have purpose and meaning in our life. He is our meaning, and he gives us purpose.
  • Sense of ministry: We are here to serve God and be his body that ministers to one another. We are here to present the gospel to unbelievers so they can see and experience God’s love for them.

Meditate on these scriptures. Build your self-image on what God thinks about you—not what others think, your spouse thinks, or even what you think. Read the scriptures aloud. Write them. Put them on your phone or computer or post-its as constant reminders of who you are in Christ and how he cares for you.

You are his child. He cares for you. You are not alone.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. (1 John 3:1 NLT)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

Jesus created you for a purpose. He has a good plan for your life, and he has equipped you to accomplish his purpose.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

Part of your purpose is to minister to others and allow them to minister to you. To share the gospel. He has made you unique and special.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (Romans 12:6 NLT)

Always remember, when you received Jesus as Lord and Savior, God clothed you in the righteousness of Christ. When he looks at you, he sees Jesus’ righteousness, not your sins. Not because of anything you have or haven’t done but because of what Jesus did.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. (Romans 3:22-25 NLT)

If you’ve never taken this step, you can do so right now. Jesus loves you so much he died for your sins. He wants to have a personal relationship with you, to care for you. Talk to him now. He is waiting for you with open arms.

Dear God, I sometimes feel alone, and I don’t like myself very much. I want to invite Jesus to come into my heart. Please forgive my sins. And then help me see myself as you do. I want to be your child. In Jesus’ name . . .

————————————————————————————————————————————————————–


These thoughts were drawn from …

 Restoring Families: Overcoming Abusive Relationships through Christ by Janet M. Lerner, D.S.W.

Abortion: How Does God See Me Now?

SOURCE:  Living Free/Kim Ketola

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” (Romans 5:8-9 NLT)

Abortion has created strife that sometimes may spill over into the church. Those who are rightly outraged about the loss of life that happens with each abortion may not be sensitive to the pain experienced by those who learned the truth too late. Or the double pain known to millions of Christian women because we denied what we knew to be true when we chose abortion against our own beliefs.

Kim admits, “Whether through perceived judgment or my own guilt, abortion made me avoid church.” Many women feel like a second-class citizen in church after abortion—caught in the crossfire of abortion politics and personal guilt and shame.

But God’s ways are not our ways. No matter how others may see us . . . or how we see ourselves . . . Jesus looks at us through eyes of love.

God doesn’t hate us for our weakness and our need. He knows we are frail and need his help.

Jesus can help you consider all the circumstances of your abortion and hold you in love as you think it through with him. Even if he doesn’t love what you did, he never stopped loving you. As you mourned, he mourned too.

Jesus sees us through eyes of love. He loves us so much he died for us while we were still sinners. And no matter what we have done, if we will leave it at the cross and trust Jesus, he will make us right in God’s eyes. Jesus does not condemn. He forgives.

Lord, I do need your help. Help me get past my fears and shame and trust you to walk me through this. . . . Help me reach out for your forgiveness and peace. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus’ name . . .

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-


These thoughts were drawn from …


Cradle My Heart: Finding God’s LOVE After Abortion by Kim Ketola.

The “ONLY” Way Forward –> Bringing Our Failures To God

SOURCE: Taken from  D.A. Carson/The Gospel Coalition

[Based on:  Leviticus 25Psalm 32Ecclesiastes 82 Timothy 4]

“BLESSED IS HE WHOSE TRANSGRESSIONS ARE FORGIVEN, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Ps. 32:1-2).

In a theistic universe where God keeps the books, it is difficult to imagine any greater blessedness.

The sad tragedy is that when many people reflect on this brute fact — that we must give an account to him, and there is no escaping his justice — almost instinctively they do the wrong thing. They resolve to take the path of self-improvement, they turn over a new leaf, they conceal or even deny the sins of frivolous youth. Thus they add to their guilt something additional — the sin of deceit.

We dare not ask for justice — we would be crushed.

But how can we hide from the God who sees everything? That is self-delusion.

There is only one way forward that does not destroy us: we must be forgiven.

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven.” And what is bound up with such forgiveness? For a start, such a person will not pretend there are no sins to forgive: blessed is the man “in whose spirit is no deceit.”

That is why the ensuing verses speak so candidly of confession (32:3-5). It was when David “kept silent” (i.e., about his sins) that his “bones wasted away”; his anguish was so overwhelming it brought wretched physical pain. David writhed under the sense that God himself was against him: “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (32:4).

The glorious solution?

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ — and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (32:5).

The New Testament writer closest to saying the same thing is John in his first letter (1 John 1:8-9).

Writing to believers, John says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” There it is again: the self-deception bound up with denying our sinfulness.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” There it is again: the only remedy to human guilt.

This God forgives us, not because he is indulgent or too lazy to be careful, but because we have confessed our sin, and above all, because he is “faithful and just”: “faithful” to the covenant he has established, “just” so as not to condemn us when Jesus himself is the propitiation for our sins (2:2).

My Wife’s The Breadwinner! Is That OK?

SOURCE:  Keri Wyatt Kent/Marriage Partnership

Women Breadwinners: A Holy Calling?

Women Breadwinners: A Holy Calling?

Perspectives from couples who reflect a growing trend

Alison Strobel Morrow works three jobs. She’s a full-time middle school language arts teacher, she writes women’s fiction, and she runs a home-based health and wellness product business.

Her husband is a part-time church newsletter editor and primary caregiver for their two children, ages 4 and 7, whom he home-schools. He handles most of the housework, although Alison pitches in occasionally.

Alison is just one of many women who are the primary breadwinners for their families. Each family has a unique story, yet is part of a larger trend: a steadily growing number of women who out-earn their husbands.

“For the most part, I’m okay with my role,” she says. While her close friends understand, she admits, “I get a lot of weird looks from people when I first explain our situation, but I’m over caring whether or not people approve. I’m immensely relieved to have a job and insurance at all.”

40 Percent and Growing

Some 40 percent of wives now earn more than their husbands, a trend which challenges the traditions of American society and has stirred debate and commentary about its sociological implications (with publication of books such as Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, and Liza Mundy’s The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family). Because of the growing number of women earning advanced degrees and ascending the corporate ladder, that percentage is growing.

A small (but growing) fraction of those wives are solo breadwinners while their husbands stay home with the children. Many more are part of couples in which both spouses work—but she earns more. Some observers predict what Mundy calls “the big flip”—the coming day where the majority of women will earn more than men.

For Christian families in this situation (and there are many), the changes can be unsettling—especially if they are a part of a conservative faith tradition that taught them it is “biblical” for a man to go out to work and a woman to stay home.

Some Christian husbands who want (or need) their wives to contribute to the household income by working may feel conflicted when their wives advance in their careers. Others are quite content to earn less, especially if this allows them to be closer to their children because they’ve become the primary caregivers and household managers. Their supporting roles often help their wives thrive in their careers.

Changing Roles

When Cathy and Dave Breslow had their kids 18 and 16 years ago, they were “adamant” that one parent would be home with them. Cathy had assumed it would be her, but her job as a software engineer for Safeway Foods had benefits, a retirement package, and a good salary. Dave’s work as an insurance salesman had no benefits and paid straight commission.

So he suggested that he stay home with their children. “At first I was like, what?” she admits.

“It was very unusual at the time,” Dave says. “But we didn’t want someone else raising our kids. I wanted to impart my values to them.”

After prayer and conversation, “we felt that the Lord was leading us in that direction,” Cathy says. “My husband handled it brilliantly. When you look at it over the long haul, we knew this is what God had for us.”

He continued to work part-time selling insurance but has been the primary caregiver for their children, as well as doing the cooking, shopping, and cleaning. He also coaches basketball and volunteers at their church.

When his daughter was 2, he wanted to take her to a playgroup through his church but noted it was called the Moms Friendly Playgroup. When he jokingly said, “I guess I’m not invited,” the church changed the name to Parents Friendly Playgroup.

However, most of the families they know at their church in the San Francisco Bay area have dads working full-time. “Would I have done things differently? No. Do I have regrets? Not at all,” Dave says.

Living the Dream

A year ago, Jeff Walton quit his job to be a stay-at-home dad to his two boys, ages 4 and 8, so his wife could take a promotion to district sales manager.

Today, the family feels they are living the dream. Kathy is free from the stress of what to do when she was 50 miles away and got a call from school saying one of her boys was sick. She is able to devote more time to her job, and she has had a banner year.

“I’ve always liked my job, but I like it so much more now,” that her husband is at home, Kathy says, although she admits that “it’s very, very, very stressful to be the sole breadwinner, especially when you’re in sales.” But Jeff’s support means both less chaos and more free time for both of them.

“We used to both do everything, when we were both working, but it was stressful. I no longer have a ‘laundry room mountain’ waiting for me on Saturday, when we’ve got to get to a soccer game, and wondering when that’s going to get done.”

Kathy says her women’s group at church has been very supportive, which helps her. Jeff’s also in a Bible study there, and that group also has been very encouraging, he said.

When they were both working, Jeff and Kathy would have their kids up by 6:00 a.m. to get out the door less than an hour later. They’d pick them up from daycare or after-school care around 5:30 p.m.—long days for both parents and kids.

These days, Jeff takes the boys to the library after school on Tuesday afternoons, and he plays ball with them or helps with homework on the other weekday afternoons.

“When we were both working, it seemed like every time Kathy would have to travel, one of the kids would get sick,” Jeff recalls. “It was so much stress.”

When both of them were trying to build their careers, Jeff recalls, “we’d have this ‘whose job is more important’ question when we both had a meeting, and we’d have a debate about that. We’ve taken that question out of the equation. She can focus more on her job, and the more successful she is, the more successful we are.”

The couples most comfortable with breadwinning wives had similar attitudes to Jeff’s, seeing her success as “our” success.

When he quit his job, Jeff reorganized the kitchen, then the laundry room, and divided the house into “zones” he cleans one at a time, working methodically around each room. “It’s very ‘FlyLady,’ ” Kathy laughs.

“I might have been going a little crazy at first, trying to prove that I was working,” he admits. He’s a meticulous budgeter, and he analyzed their finances to cut expenses before he left his job. “Kathy often tells me she wouldn’t be able to do this without me,” Jeff says.

He also does the yard work, cooks, and buys groceries, although Kathy still helps plan the meals and sometimes cooks for fun on the weekends. Those weekends also have margin for time to just hang out as a family or a couple.

“We have time to just be together. I’m no longer asking when I’m going to have time to actually live. I feel so blessed.”

A year ago when Kathy had just received her promotion, and Jeff was still working, she remembers crying at a sales meeting, telling her boss, “I don’t think I can do this.” She recalls, “My boss is an amazing guy, and he just looked at me and said, ‘What are you talking about? Of course you can do this!’ And when Jeff quit his job, I could. I went from crying that I couldn’t do it last year, to being named district sales manager of the year this year.”

Man’s Identity?

A recent Time Magazine article by Mundy, author of The Richer Sex, points out that “In the face of women’s rising power and changing expectations, many men may experience an existential crisis. When the woman takes on the role of primary breadwinner, it takes away an essential part of many men’s identity: that of the provider, the role he was trained, tailored and told to do since he could walk and talk.”

For Christian couples, it is often not just a role that he was trained for and understood that society expected him to do. Many, especially those in more conservative traditions, were told that God decreed that the husband was supposed to play the role of provider. To go against that, even when it makes economic sense, creates stress and guilt.

And yet many Christian couples find themselves—whether by choice or economic necessity or simply because women are reaping the benefits of decades of hard work and education—in this very situation.

Some couples said that the husbands’ confidence was eroded by their inability to play the traditional breadwinner role—even as they said they appreciated their wives’ efforts. Some accepted their non-traditional role but admitted it caused some tension or guilt in the relationship. Others have embraced it as the way God is providing for their families, while allowing the wives to follow God’s calling.

In her July 2012 Wall Street Journal article, “When the Wife Has a Fatter Paycheck,” journalist Susan Gregory Thomas says she’s part of that 40 percent of wives who earn more than their husbands, and notes that the situation puts her: “in the middle of a distinctively modern dilemma: how to handle the tensions of a marriage between an alpha woman and a beta man.”

In an online column responding to Thomas’ article, writer Candice Watters opines: “The dilemma Susan Gregory Thomas raises has even higher stakes for a Christian couple. We’re not merely talking tensions between alpha and beta, but defiance of the Alpha and Omega.”

“My Friends Made Me Feel So Guilty”

Whether or not you agree with Watters’ hermeneutic, she’s echoing what many people think—and many churches teach. Directly or indirectly, conservative Christian culture holds up the ideal of “man as provider, woman as homemaker.” However, the reality is, many wives do have to work, and some have far greater earning potential and ambition than their husbands. Then what?

“My friends made me feel so guilty,” says Diana Searls, who has always been the primary breadwinner in her marriage. “And if we were raised that way, to believe that earning more than your husband is absolutely wrong, the guilt is intense.”

Diana, who heads up the leadership and management development program at a career center, says she and her husband Ed “had a lot of conversations. We asked, Is this wrong? We searched the Scriptures together, and our conclusion is God did not say it’s wrong, but man has done this. That was important for us.”

Clarity about Calling

Another couple, Jean and Robert*, have both worked for all of their marriage—sometimes full-time, sometimes part-time, as they raised their two boys, who are now 20 and 17. Currently, Jean is working 50 to 60 hours a week as a project manager for a consulting company. Robert, who was downsized out of middle management several years ago, is back in school, getting his teaching credentials—at age 53. He works part-time in retail as well. While Jean is glad he’s finally found his calling, it’s been challenging.

“I’m doing what I feel called to do,” Jean says. “But the fact that Robert is not in a job he loves, kind of puts a damper on it. I’m grateful that God has provided in this way, but—there’s this big but—we’d all be happier if Robert had a better job. Although I wouldn’t trade Robert for anything because of the kind of husband and father he is.”

Jean grew up Catholic but “never got the message it wasn’t OK for me to work,” and in fact was praised for her achievements and ambition. Still, she thinks “there is this pressure, socially, that he needs to provide. He feels it more than me.”

She says she believes women “naturally have to recreate ourselves” in different seasons of life: as a student, a mother, then perhaps launching in a new direction after the kids leave the nest. Men, on the other hand, she believes, are taught that they just work, and that work defines them. When they’re unemployed, under-employed, or just not experiencing the career success their wives do, some men struggle.

The Recession’s Toll

Another couple, Jim and Angie*, met at their church in their late 20s, after she had finished a masters in social work. He worked as a carpenter, remodeling high-end homes. During the real estate boom of the late 1990s, his talents were in high demand, though the work was rarely steady. Angie’s income was the family’s main support.

The recession crippled Jim’s business. Indeed, a growing number of women have gone back to work to help make ends meet when their husbands lost their jobs—and ended up actually doing quite well. A 2010 University of New Hampshire study showed that an economic recession often results in an increasing number of breadwinner wives.

Angie works as an account manager for a company that administers employee assistance programs. She worked part-time when her children, now ages 13, 11, and 8, were young (and Jim was earning more money), but she currently works full-time. She’s always managed the money.

“Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by the responsibility of managing the finances and balancing the work demands with family life,” she admits.

Resentment and Guilt

Some men find it difficult to release traditional roles or expectations. The “man as provider” is definitely more deeply ingrained in the conservative Christian subculture than in American culture at large.

“I don’t think the tradition of faith impacts me as much as my husband. Although I cannot speak for him, at times he says things like, ‘I feel like I’m a failure,’ or ‘I will never be able to provide for you the way your father provided.’ I believe those stereotypes impact his self-esteem,” Angie says.

Angie’s advice to women who find themselves in a similar situation? “Be content in all circumstances. Trust the plan God has for you and your family. Accept the situation as it is and don’t allow resentment to creep into your attitude toward your husband.”

That’s easier said than done. Another woman, who asked to be anonymous, confided: “For a long time I was really resentful of the fact that I was the one who had to go back to work…I’ve really struggled to accept that this is God’s will for us…However, I think our girls have benefitted greatly from having him home.”

Contentment with Your Calling

Christians often talk about stewardship of their resources—but what if a woman’s skills, and God’s calling to the workplace, are gifts to be stewarded as carefully as any others?

The couples that seem to thrive with women in the breadwinner role have the support of their churches, family, and friends. They believe not just that such an arrangement is permissible, but that it’s beneficial to have the wife as primary breadwinner. They’ve prayed and studied and listened to God and followed his calling.

If God calls a woman to do work that provides for her family, that calling and the resulting income should be stewarded carefully. What does that look like? It includes the support of her husband (with practical help at home), and it also includes the woman responding wholeheartedly to that calling. By accepting and leaning into the way God has gifted her, a woman can find meaning and purpose and allow God to use her to provide for her family.

——————————————————————————————-

* These couples asked that we not use their real names.

Keri Wyatt Kent is a freelance journalist and the author of 10 books.

A Good Day I Must Never Forget

Source:  taken from Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan [born 1628]

113. I had, also, once a sweet glance from that in II Cor. 5.21: ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ I remember, also, that one day as I was sitting in a neighbour’s house, and there very sad at the consideration of my many blasphemies, and as I was saying in my mind, What ground have I to think that I, who have been so vile and abominable, should ever inherit eternal life? that word came suddenly upon me, ‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?’ (Rom. 8.31). That, also, was an help unto me, ‘Because I live, ye shall live also’ (John 14.19). But these were but hints, touches, and short visits, though very sweet when present; only they lasted not; but, like to Peter’s sheet, of a sudden were caught up from me to heaven again (Acts 10.16).

 
114. But afterwards the Lord did more fully and graciously discover Himself unto me; and, indeed, did quite, not only deliver me from the guilt that, by these things, was laid upon my conscience, but also from the very filth thereof; for the temptation was removed, and I was put into my right mind again, as other Christians were.

 
115. I remember that one day, as I was travelling into the country and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering of the enmity that was in me to God, that scripture came in my mind, He hath ‘made peace through the blood of his cross’ (Col. 1.20). By which I was made to see, both again, and again, and again, that day, that God and my soul were friends by this blood;

yea, I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each other through this blood.

This was a good day to me; I hope I shall not forget it.

———————————————————————————————————————————————
Bunyan, J. (1995). Grace abounding to the chief of sinners (57–58). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Guilt Trip To…Nowhere

SOURCE: Adapted from  Stepping Stones/Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network

Because I teach people to make decisions based on information, not emotions, I cringe when I hear parents, ministries, or pastors using guilt to “motivate” others. “If you loved me, you would do your chores.” “I worked long and hard on this meal, so you better eat it.” “We’ll have to cancel the event … unless you help us.” “Look at these starving kids in Africa and all the food you throw away. Please send money.” “See the pain Jesus went through for you? You should feel terrible; now accept Him as your savior.”

Guilt is an incredible motivator, but that’s not the correct role for or use of guilt. I am all for pointing out injustices and needs so people can step into their roles to help these situations or make good decisions.

The issue I am trying to separate through these examples is this: we shouldn’t use guilt to motivate people.

Several subliminal, distorted, and false messages can unwontedly occur when people act out of guilt.   Here are some examples:

1. I am responsible for and can control someone else’s feelings through what I do.

2. The other person won’t feel better unless I act the way he wants.

3. When you want a friend to do something for you, it is OK to lay a guilt trip on her.

4. Decisions should be based on self-needs and emotions, not God’s truth, facts, and reasoning. This is probably the worst message of all.

Unfortunately, these distorted messages subtly seep into our everyday functioning, and dramatically interfere with Godly decision-making.

Many pastors and priests try to whip their congregations into Christian action by delivering guilt-inducing sermons. Whether it’s guilting someone to say the sinner’s prayer, to give money, to volunteer, or to stop a certain behavior, the end does not justify the means. I have personally experienced these guilt-evoking messages. And unfortunately, they undermine the very foundation of grace and love that God wants to instill in a believer’s heart.

Today, take notice if you are feeling guilty about something, or if you are inducing guilt in someone else. Stop and examine why guilt is present. Guilt is important if you have done something wrong. So let the guilt warn you that a problem exists. But don’t let it be your decision-maker. Let reason and the Bible direct your heart and actions. Confess, repent, apologize, and ask for forgiveness. You are responsible for your feelings and happiness; the other person is responsible for his own. Above all else, be mindful that God does not measure and judge you by the amount of good works you do. Rather He looks into your heart. It’s your decision to allow God or guilt to motivate you, so choose well.

Prayer
Dear Father God, I do not want to be stressed out about not “doing enough” as good Christian. I know that You want me to relax in the assurance of Your perfect love. Today help me remember that You delight in me more than I can ever imagine, that You see me cloaked in Your light and presence … and that there is no condemnation for those cloaked in You. Help me daily, Lord, to come closer to having the Mind of Christ. Help me make decisions based on Your word, not my feelings. Help me feel convicted and guilty about my wrongs, and then look to You for forgiveness, and to Your word for guidance in doing right. I pray in the name of the One who knew no guilt ‘til He bore all mine, Jesus Christ;   AMEN!

The Truth
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest.  Isaiah 61:10

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Romans 8:1-2

Tag Cloud