LOADED DOWN WITH GUILT?
Life is tough. We all encounter discouragement, depression, and despair. We often experience fatigue, failure, frustrations, and fears. We may have hidden hurts from our past. We may be carrying wounds, battle scars, and emotional garbage. The good news is that God wants to take away our emotional garbage. He wants to restore our soul. Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul.”
How does God do this? He does it by removing our guilt, our grief, and even our grudges. But you have to believe He can handle it and you have to let go of it.
These three things can keep you in emotional instability. First, lets look at guilt:
1. LET GOD REMOVE YOUR GUILT. Nothing damages the soul faster than guilt. David said in Psalm. 38: 4-6 “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear… I am bowed down and brought low; all day long I go about mourning.”
Let’s look at two thoughts about guilt.
We all have plenty reasons to feel guilty. Why? It is because we’re all imperfect — we all fail. We all make mistakes. By nature we tend to carry guilt in our lives.
We can’t seem to get away from it. It’s in our mind. Even if we go to a new location we have the ability to carry a guilty conscious.
David feeling guilty for his past failures said in Psalm 55:6, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Have you ever had this thought? I wish I could just get away from it all. The problem is that guilt resides in the mind.
Proverbs 20:27 “The Lord gave us a mind and a conscience. We cannot hide from ourselves.”
How do you get rid of guilt? How do you deal with the guilt in your life? There are a lot of options: Let’s look at a few:
You can deny it and pretend it doesn’t exist. You can bury the past — but it doesn’t work. If it’s not properly dealt with it resurrects itself. Just about the time you think it’s buried, the feeling comes back into your mind at the most inappropriate time. Denying guilt does not relieve guilt. The issue of guilt has to be faced head on and dealt with according to what God says.
You can minimize it. “It was no big deal, not that big of a sin.” Then why do you still remember it? Why can’t you forget it? Minimizing it doesn’t work either.
You can compromise it just by lowering your standards. If you feel guilty about something you just say, “I don’t believe it’s wrong anymore. If you keep doing something over and over, your conscious will eventually become seared to it, but that doesn’t relieve the guilt.
You can rationalize your guilt — “Everybody does it.” In the first place, everybody is not doing it. Even if they did, justifying it by somebody else’s behavior doesn’t make it any easier on you. You can always find somebody who is worse than you. “Rationalize” means “rational lies”. Whenever I rationalize my guilt I’m trying to convince my heart about something I know is wrong with my head by saying “it’s OK”. But your heart always wins out over your head.
You can blame other people. In our mind we have a scales between what I do wrong and what you do wrong to me. We balance it — I feel bad about this so I’ll blame you for that. When you’re blaming other people it doesn’t make it any easier on you.
Many simply beat themselves up. They administer self-punishment. Inside they know that somebody has got to pay for the wrong in my life. What they fail to realize that Jesus Christ has already paid for all sins.
Subconsciously we set ourselves up to pay for our sin. Can guilt make you sick? You bet it can. Can guilt cause depression? Absolutely. Can guilt cause you to set yourself up for failure? Without a doubt.
Romans 3:23-24 says, “All of us have sinned… yet God declares us `not guilty’. The most basic truth of Christianity is Jesus Christ has already paid for all of your sins. We must simply acknowledge our sin and receive his forgiveness and live in His grace (every day). Pride is the thing that keeps most from receiving and enjoying this. You can have pride and guilt or you can have forgiveness and grace. The truth is, we already have already been provided forgiveness and grace but we just refuse to receive and enjoy it.
There is only one solution to your guilt. We’ve got to give it to God. We have to acknowledge we are not perfect and never will be in this life. We must repent which simply means we change of heart and mind and allow Him to help us change our actions. He’s the only one who can remove it and help you get free from it. All you can do is believe and receive. If you do, you can enjoy life. If you don’t, you will be miserable.