Dealing with Guilt

I’m still reading that Beauty for Ashes book by Joyce Meyer while the boys are a swim lessons.  I’ve been underlining “aha” moments as I read and one in particular has caught my attention and it talks about how we deal with guilt in our lives.  I never thought about it like this.  Joyce wrote:

I always asked for forgiveness from my sins right away, but I never accepted it until I felt that I had suffered enough to pay for it.  God caused me to realize what I was doing, how much unnecessary pain I was causing myself.  He even showed me that what I was doing was insulting to Jesus, that in  essence I was saying,  ‘Lord, the sacrifice of Your life and blodd was good, but not good enough.  I must add my work of guilty feelings before I can be forgiven.’ “

I never in a million years would have come to think that I might be insulting Jesus by allowing guilt to stay around longer than it should!! 

Don’t confuse guilt with shame.  Shame is that feeling you get when you break something and need to go apologize for something.  Shame can get out of whack too but it is different than guilt. (perhaps, I’ll talk about shame tomorrow!) Joyce describes guilt as, “The devil wants all of us to feel wrong about ourselves.  Jesus Christ gave His life that we might have righteousness.  We were created by God to feel right and good about ourselves.  However,  because of the presence of sin in the world, and the sin nature that came upon us through the fall of mankind, we cannot now do everything right. . .. . . {however} by faith, we are made right with God.”

There is no way that we can be perfect.  There is no way that we can do enough good things to pay God back for helping us out.  We are not capable of paying God back for forgiving us.  Guilt makes you believe that there is some way to be perfect, if you only did. . . . . .or if you could take back. . . . .  Jesus took care of all of it on our behalf and we should not insult him by thinking that we have to punish ourselves even after we have asked for forgiveness.  God wants you to feel good about yourself, not bad!!  Satan is the messed up character that takes great strides to make you feel bad, guilty, and insecure- NOT GOD!!  GOD LOVES YOU!!  HE IS LOVE!! HE CANNOT, NOT, LOVE YOU.  THAT’S NOT WHO HE IS!!

Joyce referenced Hebrews 4:14-16.  I looked this up in the Message Bible for easier comprehension and this is what it says:

Now that we know what we have- Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God- let’s not let it slip through our fingers.  We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.  He’s been through weakness and testing, expereinced it all- all but the sin.  So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give.  Take the mercy, accept the help.

God created us to bring him joy!  He created Jesus so that we could be free from guilt.  In closing, I would like to quote Joyce one more time. 

“If you have a big problem in this area of guilt, you may need to ask someone to pray for you. . . . . .guilt robs faith; if you have lived for a long time buried under a load of guilt and condemnation, your faith may need to be strengthened.  Get the help you need.  Refuse to live any longer pressed down under a burden of guilt and condemnation.”

Dear Heavenly Father-  Thank you for taking the guilt away through Jesus’ death on the cross.  Please forgive me for ever thinking that I had to punish myself in order to be forgiven.  Your forgiveness is immediate upon asking and I so thank you for it!  If there are people out there today, who need a boost in the faith department, I ask you to give them all that they need to get out from under Satan’s laughing thumb.  He has tricked them, Lord.  Protect them from him and give them the strength to drop their fears at your feet.  Thank you, Jesus!  In your name, amen

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