At one point or the other, we all have been guilty of something. Be it doing that one thing your mom told you not to do or going against God’s will. And the thing is, guilt has so many adverse effects from depression, to self-hate to withdrawing from God’s purpose for your life and in some cases, suicide. However, it is important to let you know that guilt is a form of oppression…oppression not from God, as God can never subject anyone to oppression…but oppression from the devil. Here’s why.
For anyone who has come to Christ, the bible lets us know in Romans 8:1 that for such people, there is no condemnation. Guilt condemns you. I know it is going to take more than just telling you what Romans 8:1 says to convince you to drop the guilty feeling. Hence, the essence of this post…dealing with guilt.
The first and most important step involved in dealing with guilt is seeking God’s forgiveness. As mentioned above, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If we are willing to overcome that re-occuring guilt, we first have to come to The One who can redeem us from it. Tell God how much you messed up and don’t just stop there, receive the forgiveness that He offers you. The bible lets us know that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus, we receive as long as we believe (Matthew 21:22). It’s one thing to be forgiven by God and it is another to receive that forgiveness. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven by God, through Jesus Christ. To overcome a guilty feeling, you have to openly receive the forgiveness of God, made readily available to you in Jesus Christ, by believing you have it.
Even when we receive God’s forgiveness, it is still necessary that we forgive ourselves. Why? Because this is what anchors most of the guilt. Not forgiving ourselves when we mess up, prevents us from accepting God’s forgiveness. Even if we claim to have actually accepted His forgiveness, it is not a total acceptance. We need to learn to forgive ourselves so that we can run with God’s purpose for our lives. Supposing God ordained a certain Mr Y to preach to some people about immorality and he happened to have been a kingpin of immorality before meeting Jesus, if he hasn’t forgiven himself of his past deeds, he would not be able to carry out that which God ordained him to, as well as he should. Paul the Apostle, was a terrorist to Christians before he himself, became one. If we read 1 Timothy 1:12-16 we’d see how he saw himself just as blameless as God saw him. This enabled him to live freely in God’s love and carry out his purpose. In essence, forgiving yourself of that mistake not only helps you accept God’s forgiveness and live life as He wills you to, it also helps you look past the condemnation of man.
As a follow up to what is mentioned above, forgiving yourself helps you deal with your guilt better. Now, if you are not being condemned by God and you have forgiven yourself, why do you think it is okay to let another person put you under condemnation? The next step to overcoming a stubborn feeling of guilt is shutting out any form of condemnation. Whatever is going to take you to a position where you see yourself as useless to God because of a certain sin you have committed in the past or whatever is going to put you in a position where you find it difficult to love yourself, is definitely not of God and it should have no place in your heart. The devil is really good at playing mind games, knowing exactly when to bring those flashbacks such that you feel regret, pity and sorrow all at once. But from now on, give him no room. Whenever he tries to taunt you with those condemning flashbacks, remind him that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Some sins we commit could sometimes harm another person…whether emotionally or physically. In such situations, we could also seek restitution with the people we might have offended. Sometimes, all it takes is the knowledge that the person whom we have offended or disappointed has forgiven us, for us to overcome the guilt of our wrongdoing. When Jacob cheated his brother of his blessing as the first-born, he harboured that guilt till the day he met with Esau. It was not until restitution was made that Jacob felt at ease (Genesis chapters 32&33). So, in cases where it is possible, where restitution is necessary for your overcoming of guilt, do not avoid it.
Finally, purpose in your heart to never again go back to such sins. However, it is easy to determine not to go back to your old ways but without the right bounce-back plan, you would only end up falling back into that sin or worse, something greater. If you do not back your mind up and guard your heart appropriately with the word of God, succumbing to condemnation from the devil and being unable to live the new life Christ has empowered you to, will be inevitable. At all times, let God’s words assure and reassure you. Walk after the Spirit because the more you align yourself with Him, the more you kill those fleshy desires that made you feel guilty in the first place (Romans 8:3-5).
“There is therefore now [not soon or later but now] no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit”. You do not have to buy into the guilt the devil is trying to sell to you. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, the redeemed in Christ Jesus, the justified in Christ Jesus since over two thousand and twenty-one years ago whom Satan is trying to make guilty! Read that again.