One of the most used (over used) resources in the modern church is often guilt. As Baptists, we don’t have the corner on the market when it comes to guilt, but we definately have more than our fair share of usage. I’ll admit I have used it from the pulpit, classroom, article and the occasional blog. We use guilt to promote faith, but should we? One of the things I see very often is people struggling with guilt and not knowing what to do. Guilt can sometimes be a trap for people, but it doesn’t need to be. Guilt had to be understood in it’s proper context so people can be free of it’s devastation. The problem is so often people don’t know the difference between guilt that comes from the world or the devil, and conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit. I have shared with many how to be free from the crushing weight of guilt. This is so important to me because I struggle with guilt.
When sometime happens in our lives that we mess up and we hurt someone and cause an issue. We now have conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit. When conviction comes, there are things that can be done. At the very minimum, we confess, repent, apologize. Sometimes there is restitution to be made, often we have to be humbled. The conviction comes and brings us to restoration. Conviction always leads us to restoration and reconciliation. Always. In this situation, if we have done these things, the feelings are now guilt. Guilt has no outcome, nothing to do and no where to go. We have already done all we can do, confessing again won’t make us more forgiven, and if we have done all we can to make it right with the person, we can’t go anywhere else. Guilt comes from the devil and it cripples us or causes us hurt. So often, guilt keeps us from having a close relationship with God and really connecting with others. It’s a prison that many are trapped in.
Life in Christ is about being free from guilt and condemnation. We have freedom in confession and repentance. We have freedom and life in Christ, and we need to proclaim freedom and hope for all people. Guilt shouldn’t be a prison for us or those we minister too. We need to proclaim freedom from guilt. That will require us to never use guilt.