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

Biblical Discernment in a World of False Teaching – Part Two

The Gospel Message without Repentance

Last summer I heard a man preach on 4 separate nights.  Each night the gospel was reduced to “Believe and Receive.”  Not once was the notion of repenting proclaimed.  I was shocked and saddened.  Why would a man of God leave out such an important element to the gospel?

Didn’t the forerunner of Christ have a message of repentance?  “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 3:1-2.

When Christ began to preach didn’t He preach repentance?  “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 4:17.

Wasn’t the Apostles sent out by Christ with the message of repentance?  “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two…And they went out, and preached that men should repent,” Mark 6:7,12.

Does not God command all men to repent?  “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent,” Act 17:30.

Why then would we leave such an important element out?   Some would say it’s too offensive.  Others would say it’s not a big deal.  And some would state it just doesn’t matter.  But let me ask, do we have a better gospel than Christ?  Do we know more than the Apostles?  Is God’s command to repent not relevant for today?  Perhaps the reason repentance is left out is because it makes no sense to preach repentance unless you preach about the wrath of God.  “For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” (Col 3:6) And many simply refuse to preach this.  But sadly, it is equivalent to refusing to warn a blind that he is about to walk off a cliff.  Or, you could compare it to a doctor refusing to tell a dying patient just how serious his condition is.  Some will claim that they do not want to preach in a negative light due to the offense it causes.  But, we must ask ourselves, how much more offended will man be when it is too late.

Repentance is very important.  It fact, without it a person cannot be saved.   To repent is to turn from our sins and to God.  It is more than just being sorry.  Did you know that you can be sorry for your sins without repenting of them?  Look at Paul’s address to the Corinthian church, “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death,” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.

The gospel without repentance is a false and dangerous gospel. Because of it there are a lot of professing Christians who have never repented or turned from their sins.  They are false converts because they heard a false gospel.  They still walk in darkness because they have never turned from their sins.  Jesus said, “I tell you…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” Luke 13:3.  Those who preach a watered-down gospel without repentance will one day answer for leading many astray.