Psalms 103: 8-12 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
What is Guilt?
One of my biggest struggles in the area of guilt is ‘mom guilt’. My earliest memories of feeling guilty were associated with motherhood. Before this, I don’t remember having many feelings of guilt. When I gave birth to my eldest daughter, I started to worry about things – things that to some might seem rather small and maybe even a little silly. When my daughter came down with her first cold, I worried that it was my fault. After all, she was under my care so how could I allow her to become ill? At 1 month old she was diagnosed as colic for which I also blamed myself wondering how I could allow this to happen. My mistake was not sharing my anxiety and guilt with anyone. The condemnation that I also struggled with meant I had a consistently nagging feeling inside me where I felt I deserved some sort of punishment for doing wrong.
What does the Bible say about how we should deal with feelings of guilt and condemnation?
The Bible tells us that Jesus bore our sins at the cross therefore in his eyes we are no longer guilty. As someone who struggles with guilt, these words are difficult to fully comprehend. The truth is, the devil enjoys watching me struggle with my guilt because he knows it removes the joy from within me, it hinders my relationship with God because often I hesitate to approach him when I have that feeling of guilt. God knows that if I begin to understand the fundamental core of what it means to be washed in his blood, only then will I begin to walk in freedom where I am completely free of shame, guilt and condemnation.
How does guilt affect believers?
Walking around with feelings of guilt all the time has affected me in different ways. I fail to make precise decisions and when I am finally able to make a decision, I’m constantly plagued with doubt. The Bible however has a completely different view of how I should handle the way I feel. I am learning that my feelings are just that – feelings. I’m learning slowly that I should never rely on the way I feel which varies from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour. I’m learning to take hold of what God says is true. It’s a journey and sometimes I forget to ask God whether the thoughts I have a based on truth or lies. Sometimes I’m so wrapped in my own head that I don’t even realise that I have to separate the lies from the truth.
Breaking free of guilt and condemnation
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every burden and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set out for us.
As God begins His work in me to break me free from all guilt, shame and condemnation, I believe in his promises. He is faithful even when I am not. At times I am doubtful and I may not always see that he wants me to live a life full of joy. Ultimately, he will do what is necessary to remove whatever might hinder me living the abundant life that he has promised.