Thursday, February 02, 2012

It Wasn't Meant To Run Wild!

Guilt is a strange animal. Sometimes it's unwarranted yet you feel it eating at you like a cancerous sore. Other times you totally ignore it even though it is chewing on your heart like a crazed dog with a new bone. As a concept it's neither good nor bad, it's simply waiting in the closet of our mind to be called out by broken convictions or misunderstood grace. We make it good or bad, depending on whether or not we deserve it or are diminishing the power of grace to cover our sins. Like many things, it is a God-given tool to help us recognize that something is wrong in our life. If our conscience is trained and tender, it tells us we've disappointed our Father and it drives us to repent, change, and learn. If we find ourselves feeling guilty about something we've done in the past, but received forgiveness for - we're trying to pay for something that has already been paid for, and something which we are incapable of paying for anyway!

Guilt is our inner warning bell that tells us it's a bad idea to do something, and it's the alarm that blares in our heart when we've done it. It is a help not a punishment - unless we continue to hear it but act like we don't. If it is from God it is a holy honk, but if it's from our own poor self-esteem, it may become an unnecessary and undeserved burden that we refuse to let God carry.

Sometimes we feel guilty about God's blessings. He gives us good health, good jobs, good homes, and great opportunities to serve, share, and guide others, and we let Satan tell us again how unworthy we are - so we turn gratitude into guilt and blessing into burdens. It never has been about what or how much you have, but who really is Lord of your life. Again, if we've been ungrateful and unsharing - maybe we need some guilt, but if we believe God gave it to us, the only expectation is that He be glorified in how we use it.

Grace is not a permanent guilt eraser. Guilt is what reminds us that we haven't responded to God's grace as completely or as consistently as we should. It's a call to stay on coarse, and - yes - it's an animal to avoid, but it is not a burden to bear as much as it's a beast to get rid of - as quickly as we can - with the help of God.

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