Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Shame Of Guilt

Have you ever experienced guilt? Silly question. We have all faced guilt at one time or another. But what about guilt that overwhelms, even paralyses, preventing us from responding to people properly? What is surprising is to discover how many Christians have guilt even though they have received forgiveness. I thought Christians would be experts in forgiveness, considering how much Jesus taught on the subject.

For Christians to be paralysed by guilt means they have not understood the grace and love of Jesus; it means they have either not accepted, not trust or not understood Jesus' forgiveness. Such Christians live like Joseph's brothers, seeking forgiveness for the same thing over and over again. Joseph had already forgiven his brothers many years previous, when they first entered Egypt. Yes, they had done a terrible thing against him but Joseph recognized Yahweh's hand in it and told them that he forgave them. But it seems that all the years that followed, these brothers still carried the burden of guilt.

When their father, Jacob/Israel, died they collectively thought that Joseph would now get his revenge:

When Joseph’s brothers realized that their father was now dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us, and wants to pay us back seriously for all of the terrible things we did to him?” (Genesis 50:15)

How frustrating for Joseph but how sad for these brothers who carried this needless burden for so long. Joseph assured them:

“Don’t be afraid. Am I God? You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today. Now, don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” (v. 19-21)

Grace in all its beauty. How much more so with Jesus? When Jesus says it is forgiven, he means exactly that; it is forgiven. It has been removed from us, never to be thought of again. He has done this for all our offences against Yahweh; the past, the present, the future. His love for us is that great, far greater than we can comprehend. This too is a thing of faith, trusting that because Jesus said it, it is true. There is no place for guilt in our lives.

Forgiveness is a thing we must come to understand and accept. It is important so that we can receive and accept forgiveness but also so that we can forgive. We can never truly be forgivers of offences against us until we are able to accept Jesus' forgiveness. So, throw off that guilt and walk in the grace that has saved all those who have called on the name of Jesus as Lord and Saviour.


Steve Finnell said...


Is it possible to seek the approval of men and be an effective servant of Christ? To go with the flow works well unless there is a waterfall at the end of the river. Then the ride can get a little bumpy.

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

The apostle Paul said if I were "still" trying to please men. Obviously while Paul was a Pharisee he was trying to please men.
Do men today continue in their denominations to please friends and relatives?

John 12:42-43 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

Are there those today who know in their heart that Jesus was correct when He said "has been baptized shall be saved," but will not confess it because they fear being ostracized by church members, friends and relatives?

James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know the friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

If we have friendship with the world, then we get their approval. Is that approval worth becoming an enemy of God?

Luke 6:26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

If all believers and the world speak well of you, do you think you might want to reconsider your life style, as well as your faith?

2 Timothy 4:2-3 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

If men do not like what the Bible teaches, they will find people who will teach what meets their approval.

We sometimes think that speaking the truth in love means that we should water down the gospel, compromise the requirements for salvation, accept the sins of the world or simply offer excuses for sin.



Paul Van Buren said...

Steve, I have no problem with people expounding on any of my blogs. It is a pleasure to see people add deeper revelation, but your comment misses the mark. Although I agree with you 100% I do not find that it has much to do with my topic. My topic is accepting the forgiveness of Jesus and applying it. Yours is on the approval of man. It appears you may be fishing for followers. I would appreciate it if you do not use by blog to do so. May the Lord give you wisdom as you desire to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.