Overcoming Guilt and Condemnation
Imagine a man is convicted of murder and on death penalty. But before his execution, someone came over and admitted of the crime and took his place instead. The man was set free but he did not feel free at all. He was remorseful of the murder and lived a life of condemnation and guilt.
Many Christians live their lives like the man in the above story. They are forgiven and set free completely, but still live like criminals. Guilt holds them hostage and torments them day and night. Guilt can cause severe distress, physical sickness, premature death and not to mention debilitating mental agony that can drive a person crazy. It’s like a piece of hell on earth.
People would normally blame the devil for making them feel miserable; but that’s not the entire truth. If you are a Christian, then the devil has no power over you, unless you give him. He cannot make you miserable, unless you allow him to. He can only tempt you, but he can’t make you do things. If we keep resisting the devil, he will go away.
We all have sinned and the penalty of sin is eternal death. Jesus took our place on the cross and died for our sins so that we could be free and live in His righteousness and have eternal life. To be acquitted of sin, one has to repent of their sin, which is to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness. But it’s not just asking forgiveness. Repentance, most importantly, means to turn away from sin; to discontinue in sin.
A person who has committed sin will feel guilty of sin. This is called conviction of sin which leads the person to repentance. But if a person has already repented, and still feels guilty of their sins, then that is called condemnation. Conviction of sin is from God. Condemnation is from the devil. God never condemns anyone. Conviction draws us near to God and condemnation takes us away from God. Conviction leads to righteousness, whereas condemnation leads to bondage.
To be free from condemnation one has to accept the truth and refuse the lies. God never lies; He only speaks the truth. The devil always lies and manipulates the truth. People feel guilty because they are listening and believing the lies from the devil, which makes them feel guilty.
The Truth is, God forgives you of your sins and when you repent, your sins are forgiven and you are free and not guilty anymore. If you still feel guilty, you have to ignore your feelings, and start believing the truth, and continue believing the truth, and your feeling with eventually line up with what you believe, and you will experience total freedom.
Some people feel they have to do a lot of good works before they feel like they are forgiven. We receive forgiveness by simply asking for forgiveness and turning away from our sins. We do not receive forgiveness because we have to pay for forgiveness in any form, such as good works. If it was so, then Jesus didn’t have to pay for it by dying on the cross and shedding His blood. We could have paid by doing good works, etc. But that isn’t so. We however do good works because we are made good by grace and mercy, and it’s not the other way round where our good work earn us mercy. We only receive mercy; we cannot earn it.
God does not hate you because you have sinned. God’s love doesn’t change because of what you did or what you failed to do. God loves you and that’s why He created you. He knew you would sin and that is why He already paid for your sins, so that you can go totally free and live without guilt. All you have to do is just receive God’s mercy and enjoy your life. When you sin, don’t run away from God; instead run towards Him, because He is the only one that can help you. No sin is big for God. God is patient with you and you need to forgive yourself and be patient with yourself. God loves you and you need to love yourself. There is possibly nothing you can do to stop God from loving you. The more you sin, the more his grace is available for you. But that love and grace of God is there not for you to sin more, but for you to draw near to God and turn away from sin.
So the next time you feel guilty, examine if it is conviction from God or condemnation from the devil. Repent of your sins and feel guilty no more. Also, some people think they have to repent the entire day or ask forgiveness multiple times for the same sin before they feel forgiven; which is again not receiving mercy but soaking in guilt. You just need to ask forgiveness once for any particular sin and just receive God’s mercy and let go of it. God does not remember your sins anymore, so should you not remember it anymore. It’s over, it is finished, case closed for eternity. So please don’t keep re-opening the case and putting yourself on trial over and over again.
Sometimes you may find that people who know about your sins may try to burden you with guilt and shame, even if you have turned away from wrong doing. Remember, you are now a new creation in Christ Jesus. You no more have to carry the shame and guilt of your wrong doings. Even if people are mean to you, God is merciful to you. Whatever you have done in the past doesn’t determine your future. Only God determines your destiny. God want us to focus on our present and the future not on our past. Don’t give up on yourself because God never gives up on you.
When you continue in the truth, God will make things right for you. Your past has been erased. It doesn’t matter what you did wrong. Today is a new day, a new beginning, a new life, a new you.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me (Galatians 2:20).
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