Updated: Dec 3, 2018
Guilt is that awful feeling that hits us in the pit of the stomach when we know we have done wrong, and we’ll do almost anything to get rid of it. Adam and Eve, our first parents, established a human pattern that continues to this day. First comes the cover-up. Then we play the blame game as we try to justify or rationalize our actions. We think that the more we can blame someone else, the less guilty we will feel.
Sometimes we try to escape from guilt through activities, alcohol, or drugs. Or we run to psychiatrists—but secular psychiatry has tried to solve the problem of guilt by saying there is no such thing as sin. Just ignore that guilty feeling, we’re told, because it has no basis in reality. We try, but somehow we just can’t pull it off.
Why do so many Christians live with guilt?
I can only speak for myself, but I think the same principles apply to any Christian who has a lot baggage from the past. Especially those that have a history of addiction, criminal behavior, or other despicable acts.
First of all remember.. .
The devil wants you to live under a dark cloud of guilt. He loves for us to be miserable. He uses our desire to do good against us by constantly reminding us of our past wrongs making us feel like a phony for trying to live a Christian life . One of his tricks is to use other guilt ridden people.
Have you ever had someone say to you-"I thought you were suppose to be a Christian?? I thought Christians were suppose to ___________ or, were not suppose to, ___________(well, fill in the blanks)." These words of condemnation can pierce the heart of one who has a desire to please God. And usually the one asking that question, is dealing with a great deal of guilt themselves and are “diverting” to easy their own burden.
Living with guilt that doesn't belong to us is a problem that robs Christians of the joy and freedom Jesus offers. Romans 8:1 states - "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." But this simple promise seems like an illusive dream to those living with guilt.
Some of us don't need any help from others to be flooded with feelings of guilt and condemnation. We look at our past failures and condemn ourselves.
As told in my autobiography “360 A Full Circle” At one time I was on a top 10 most wanted fugitive list. An addicted, drug manufacturing, extortionist, racketeering criminal. A lifestyle that spanned four decades. I had a lot to feel guilty about. After two failed marriages, and another wife left at home while I sat in prison and four Kids that I wasn’t there for, I had zero self worth. So how did I overcome Guilt?
Not right away anyway. Like a lot of you, I was saved, living a good , clean Christian life, but there was still that cloud of guilt. Why? Because… I didn’t understand that the guilt I was feeling was a lie placed in my mind by Satan himself.
I Know that once I was saved and God had given me a new heart, I dedicated my life to Christ. All I wanted to do was please him. But the ghost from my past keep infiltrating my mind, making me feel unworthy of any blessing God had for me. As a result, I suffered with bouts of depression, I was moody and distant with others.
It’s like the guilt grows stronger the more you try to grow closer to God. I would face the repeating memory of past sins, and each time the movies played in my mind, waves of guilt and condemnation would overtake my heart.
So now that you know that you're not alone , what do you do to get out from under the cloud of debilitating guilt ?
Living Guilt Free...
1.) If you haven’t done so already, repent for your transgression., and if possible repent to the person you hurt. Once we have confessed our sin, God will no longer use guilt or condemnation to remind us of our past. He wants us to enter his freedom, his perfect peace-completely free of condemnation. The familiar and much loved promise of John 3:16 is followed by this powerful declaration. Jesus said, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned." (John 3:17-18a NIV)
2.) Consistently Remind yourself that guilt for a past wrong that you have already repented for is a stumbling block put before us by the devil.
3.) Instead of feeling guilty, do something about it. Almost all offense's can be remedied by compensation. Instead of saying sorry, a show good of faith by fixing the problem and correcting the wrong , goes a lot further than a simple apology.
4.) Use your past to glorify God. If God has rescued you from something, a bad lifestyle, addiction , or whatever, use your story to help others that are going through what you have already experienced. Nothing will please God more, and sheds your Guilt quicker, than when you take what the devil taught you and use it against him by being an encourager to someone else in need. God will take all of the garbage from your past and make it work for your good, when you use it to glorify his name.
5.) Realize and accept the fact that sometimes there is no way you can make amends for all your past wrongs, to all the people you have wronged. A more effective way, is for those that you cannot personally make an atonement to ,ask God to bless those you have wronged ten fold.. Restore anything in their lives that you have hurt, destroyed of stained, that he blesses them beyond their wildest imagination.
Guilt is always disruptive and only comes from the ego mind therefore the minute we give up judging ourselves and others we are free to create anything we desire. We desire peace, joy and love when we are in our right mind and that may or may not include physical things in this life such as a new car, better job, the love of our lives etc. If we do live in right mindedness it may very well include all of those things but we can rest assured that what we truly desire will be given to us. That's a promise we can take to the bank because God loves us and desires us to live in peace.
Remember.... GOD’S FORGIVENESS INCLUDES A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE