For months, you’ve been trying to escape the guilt. But like a poisonous snake, it stalks you relentlessly and strikes when you least expect it.
Your life is miserable. You’ve tried everything you know to rid yourself of regret, including prayer and Bible reading. Nothing has worked, and you’re afraid you’ll never be free from this curse.
Are you missing something? How can you apply God’s Word to this situation?
Wendy has posed a problem many of us wrestle with. We do not accept the forgiveness that Jesus has provided for us. This leads to a destructive way of thinking about us that creates a bondage called guilt.
What is guilt? Wikipedia defines Guilt as a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation. This is a good definition, but let’s take a look at what the Bible says about guilt and how it functions and effects our thinking.
The key to correct thinking is realizing that there are two types of guilt. First there is a Holy Spirit conviction (feeling guilty) of our sin (John 16:8). This leads us to repentance. We see that we are guilty of not following God’s ways and that we are not holy. We then realize that we need a Savior. These feelings of guilt are based on God’s truth.
The other guilt comes from Satan, The Accuser. It causes a feeling of condemnation because of the accusations that he makes against us. Romans 8:1 states, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” These feelings of guilt are based on lies, not on God’s truth.
We often confuse the two. We must ask ourselves is this conviction (correct guilt) or condemnation (wrong guilt)?
Remember, the wrong guilt is cultivated when you dwell on your past sins that have already been forgiven. Satan and our own emotions are faithful to remind us of our past sins. Psalm 103:12 states, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” We are the ones remembering our sin….not God.
However, the Holy Spirit does use guilt to convict us of present sin that needs to be dealt with because He desires us to be more like Jesus. This guilt should stop as soon as we confess our sin and ask forgiveness.
So practically, how do we deal with wrong guilt?
First we need to understand and remember the nature of God’s forgiveness. He died for us so that we could be forgiven and free from guilt.
Next, we must repent of our sin so that any conviction the Holy Sprit has brought upon us is dealt with. Then we must accept that our past sins are gone and forgiven. We must forgive others and ourselves so that we can be released from bondage…. Jesus freed us (Col 3:13).
We must also remember that wrong guilt is a stronghold. Satan wants to control us and render us ineffective for the Kingdom. We must renew our mind in the Word and prayer on a regular basis (Rom 12:2).
We must also remember 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” We are not who we were. Our past is gone.
We must also commune with God in worship and praise (John 4:24). Taking the focus off of us and putting it on God will change our wrong thinking.
Finally we must rest in Him. In Matt 11:28-29, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” God wants to set us free.
You can be set free from guilt. You can find emotional rest. Let Him work in your heart and mind today….right now.
Check out “Set Free From Guilt!” (Testimony #15) on Wendy’s web site.
“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation.” Copyright 2014 Word For Life Publishing, LLC