Guilt ….Good or Bad?

guiltI did not pack enough bags for this guilt trip! I am not to blame and will certainly not feel bad about this! I wish they would stop making me feel so guilty. Have you ever said these words or had these thoughts? It is likely that if you are over the age of 3 that you have. No one likes to feel guilty. It’s an ugly feeling that starts in the bottom of your stomach and lingers until resolved. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves. Sometimes it is others in our life that seems content to constantly push guilt and shame our way. It is in these moments in life when a single word or look, like a sharp knife, slices thorough our emotions only to leave a sinking feeling of culpability behind.

Seeing that guilt leaves such an ugly mark, one would think that it is a bad thing, bad indeed and something to be avoided at all cost.

But is it all terrible? Can guilt be beneficial? Is it good or is it bad? The answer is yes.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

What things do you think Paul had to forget?  Was it his accomplishments in the flesh before salvation?  Maybe so.  After all he was a Pharisee of all Pharisees.  But just maybe it was his past sins.  After all, I can only imagine the guilt of his past must have plagued him. Maybe those things that were behind him were the memories of the many Christians that suffered and died at his own hands.  We all know how easy it is to feel guilty about past sins.  God forgives and forgets.  We try to, but yet Satan never does. The enemy loves to bring our faults and failures back up to us. It is this type of guilt that is bad, guilt from our past that has already been forgiven.

 But some guilt is necessary. The law of God makes the unbeliever guilty. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God,” Romans 3:19.

 Likewise, when a believer sins it is accompanied with guilt. “For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin,” Psalm 38:17-18.  This type of guilt is good. It is a necessary emotion given to us by God.  Picture it as a “check engine light” on the dashboard of your car.  It brings to your attention a problem under the hood.  It should be used to help us acknowledge our sins.  It should drive us to repentance.  But once we have done that we need to leave our guilt at the cross.

 Here is a sure way to tell if guilt is good or bad. Bad guilt – the kind that we need to let go of – will always push us away from God. It brings shame and makes us self focused. It hinders our spiritual walk and makes us ineffective for the Kingdom. However, be sure that good, godly, healthy guilt will drive us strait to the arms of God as His mercy and grace floods our hearts.

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Jesus loved him”

“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, ‘One thing thou lackest…’”

It only takes a few minutes online to see enough pride, arrogance, and debauchery flowing through Facebook, Pinterest, and other sites to make my blood boil.  There is a sense of indignation that springs up in my heart, especially when the things of God are debased.  The longer I live, the clearer I can see the depravity of man.  Of course, times are no different today than when Jesus walked upon this earth.  Sin still reigns in the hearts of men.  Men still love darkness rather than light. Men’s eyes are still blinded by the god of this world.  Man is man – nothing more.   But lest we forget, God is God and nothing less.

In 2 Corinthians 5:18 we are told, “all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” Have you ever thought about the ministry of reconciliation that the child of God has been given?  Our ministry is to help reconcile sinful man to a holy, perfect, and just God.  Sometimes this ministry is frustrating.  We know “the terror of the Lord” and therefore we persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11), but “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:18.

Sometimes I struggle with how I am to communicate this with those who are blind.  This is why I love the Way of the Master evangelism course.  I’ve been through it several times and my husband is currently teaching it in our home each Monday night.  The point of the course is to evangelize the way Christ did.  His method was law to the proud and grace to the humble.   When the rich young ruler came to Christ seeking how to inherit eternal life, the Lord did not give him the “plan of salvation”.  Nor did He lead him in a “sinner’s prayer”.  Nor did Christ tell this man that he had a “God shaped hole in his heart” and if he would just believe that he would receive.  Instead, Christ pointed him to the law of God.

“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.” (Mar 10:18-19)

When this man insisted that he had kept all of these from his youth (obviously bearing false witness) then Jesus, “beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” Mark 10:21

Because of this man’s pride, Jesus kept pointing him to the law.  Giving away everything to the poor will not save anyone.  Jesus was showing him the essence of the 1st Commandment.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” Exodus 20:3.

But what happens?  The man walks away sad.  He refuses to follow Christ, because he had another god.  “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions,” Mark 10:22.

Other times in Scripture, like the woman at the well in John 4, we see Christ giving the gospel to those who are humble.  Law to the proud and grace to the humble.   

 But what really caught my attention while reading this passage yesterday during our small group study was one simple phrase in Mark 10:21.  “Then Jesus beholding him loved him…”  Here was an unsaved man who came to Christ, was pointed to the law, and still walked away unregenerate.  Yet, Jesus loved him.  I’ve missed it in the past.  Jesus loved him!  Of course He did.  He desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  And in His love for the man, the most loving thing that Christ could do for him was to point him to the law of God.

Christian, Do you love the sinner?  Do you love them like Christ loved them?

Do I love the sinner like Christ loves them?  If I did I would tell them that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.  If I loved them I would tell them about their sins and how “sin is the transgression of the law,” 1 John 3:4.  I would tell them that “the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23a.  And I would point them to the law of God so that they would see their need for a Savior.  This is the most loving thing we can do.

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God,” Romans 3:19.

The Grace Card

The Grace Card releases today (August 16) on DVD.  I have wanted to see this movie since it came out in theaters.  Friends had told me it was very good.  Last night I watched it with great expectations.   In a powerful way, the film dealt with sin on many levels such as race, pride, and anger. But in contrast, the film showed the prevailing love of God through grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

The message of grace flows throughout this movie.  It is a beautiful picture of the ultimate grace that was given to mankind.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8.

The movie is rated PG 13 for violence. Parents will need to use discretion in allowing younger children to watch the movie.  However, it can be used as a great teaching tool for older children in that it shows the reality of this sin laden world and consequences that follow. 

*I am giving away a DVD of The Grace Card to one of my readers on Monday, August 22nd.  To enter, just leave a comment on this blog about what God’s grace means to you and I will draw one winner.

  Movie Synopsis:

 Everything can change in an instant … and take a lifetime to unravel.

When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God … and just about everyone else.

Mac’s rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he’s partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.

Mac’s home life is as frightening as anything he encounters on the streets of Memphis. Money is tight and emotions run high as he constantly argues with his wife and his surviving son Blake, who is hanging with the wrong crowd and in danger of flunking out of school.

Sam Wright also never expected to be a police officer. He has a calling—to be a minister like his Grandpa George. But leading a small, start-up church doesn’t always put enough food on the table for a young family, so Sam doubles as a police officer. With his new promotion to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate.

Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it’s impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one?

Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God’s grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD … and never underestimate the power of God’s love

 

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you,” Ephesians 4:32.

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15.