Thursday, February 08, 2007

Guilty as charged?

Guilt is something we women, especially we mothers, are well acquainted with. Let's face it, we wear our guilt like a second skin.

And we feel guilty over the silliest things, if you think about it! Just this morning I was feeling guilty because my kids got to school about ten minutes earlier than usual, thus spending ten extra minutes in the "tv room," the holding area for those arriving pre-bell. Silly, isn't it?

Birthdays are among the biggest guilt-inducers. (not my birthdays--those precipitate a whole different set of emotions--like shock for instance) It has taken me years to get past feeling guilty over a bakery birthday cake! And what about birthday parties? We've never done the big extravaganza kind of celebration, and guess what? I've felt guilty about it.

No matter the cause or the source, guilt beats us down, diminishes our sense of worth, and demoralizes us like no other emotion. Guilt tells us we're stupid and worthless, and magnifies every insecurity and sense of shame we have.

There are two kinds of guilt: the guilt that produces repentance and the guilt that produces condemnation. The first is born of conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the second a scheme of the enemy. And it's that second guilt, the guilt of condemnation, that beats us down and holds us in bondage.

The key to freedom from the second kind of guilt is a proper understanding of the first. Romans 2:4 tells us it is "God's kindness [that] leads you toward repentance." His kindness! He loves us with an unfathomable love, and it is that love that propels Him to expose our sin. Conviction is not condemnation. Let me say it again: conviction is not condemnation. Conviction is God's kindness to us! "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1)

Our enemy cannot affect our standing before God; we who are in Christ are eternally secure. But he can certainly weigh us down with such a weight of condemnation that we are rendered nearly impotent. He is the accuser of the brethren; he whispers lies of condemnation and shame and we believe him!

As the Holy Spirit brings conviction, let's deal with the sin quickly and specifically, confessing, repenting, turning and fleeing. Our God is faithful and just to forgive! Let us then recognize any guilt that follows genuine repentance for what it is: a lie of condemnation from the enemy.

Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19


  1. This post caused me to think on 2 Cor 7:10-11 as well. The difference between two types of sorrow cannot be ignored. Worldly sorrow only causes a hardened heart, while godly sorrow plows up a softened heart.

    Well written words, Lisa, that prompt a "right" understanding of guilt.

  2. Such wonderful insight on this topic! This one really hits a nerve as a mom. Thank you for challenging me to re-focus! I struggle daily with trying to be all things to all people.

  3. As the mom of an only child I'm intimately acquainted with guilt. This wonderful post brought clarity.

  4. Great post, thanks for the uplifting message

  5. Great post, thanks for the uplifting message