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Unpacking Guilt

-Joe Fornear

During a high stakes health crisis, the last thing we need is to carry around a bunch of guilt. Yet during my own cancer battle, I never felt as guilty in my entire life. I had a nagging sense of not measuring up in so many areas of my life. Now some of this guilt was bogus, and some legit, but the combination made a hard situation worse. The sources of my guilt:iStock_000023227985_Small - overcoming guilt - 4-25-14

  • Getting cancer in the first place. Could I – or even should I – have avoided getting sick in the first place? Too much sun; bad diet; not proactive enough, etc.
  • Not being able to do my job. I felt so unproductive and sometimes useless.
  • So many people having to take care of me. For an uncomfortably long time, I was giving nothing back, only taking. I was supposed to be taking care of my wife, kids and church, but they were taking care of me!
  • Past sins, regrets & rocky relationships. I would have done quite a few things differently.
  • Not coping very well. Sometimes my greatest condemnation was self-imposed. At times, I was ashamed of how weak and needy I felt.

So how do we overcome guilt? My answer is we don’t, because wecan’t. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ’s blood sacrifice is the only thing in God’s eyes that truly wipes away our sin and guilt. Still, the cleansing and forgiveness from Christ must make a difference in how we view ourselves. Otherwise we’ll try to “pay him back” or “be worthy” of His forgiveness, or some of us just beat ourselves up all day long. This payback is what the Bible calls, “dead works.”

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” – Hebrews 9:14

Paul understood this concept well. Despite his incredible religious accomplishments, he ceased trying to develop his own righteousness. Instead he put all his faith and dependence in Jesus’ righteousness for him:

“Not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” – Philippians 3:9

This was not a one time exchange for Paul, it was his lifestyle. Guilt is a horrible motivator, and an even worse taskmaster. So whatever the source of your guilt, whether it is legit or bogus, trade it in for the eternal righteousness which comes from God and is absolutely free to us sinners who ask Him. Find out more on how to receive this free gift of eternal life – The Two Ways To Get To Heaven.

Can you relate to this battle with unpacking guilt? We’d love to hear from you!

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