Archive for the ‘Guilt’ Category

Release Regret to Grasp Grace

December 28, 2010

Suggested Reading:

Matthew 26:69-75

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience… (Hebrews 10:22  NIV)

…And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5 NIV)

Sandy shared her experience of praying one morning and sensing a need to caution a neighbor to closely watch her infant throughout the day. Sandy dismissed the thought after her husband said sharing this message would cause the neighbor to think she was “loony.” Later that day, the infant died from SIDS. Sandy regretted not following through to caution her neighbor. That remorse wasn’t easy to dismiss.

The disciple Peter battled regret. Despite Peter’s claim of loyalty, Christ told Peter he would deny Him three times. When the rooster crowed a third time, Peter wept bitterly at his failure.

Peter released his regret by recognizing Christ’s love remained in spite of his denial. He knew Christ went to the cross to secure his forgiveness. A forgiveness that ignited a boldness in Peter that death threats could not silence.

 Like Peter, Sandy is releasing regret as she grasps God’s grace. In understanding God’s love she is learning to trust God’s voice and obey His instructions over the voice of others.

Prayer

Father, help us release our regret to live in your forgiveness. 

Thought for the Day

Choose today whether to live in regret in the forgiveness of God’s grace.

Prayer Focus

Receiving God’s forgiveness.

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Recognizing Unhealthy Guilt

June 14, 2010

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21

The dictionary defines regret as a feeling of sorrow or remorse. Regret is experienced when one carries a sense of loss for a fault or act.

We are in danger when we get stuck in guilt carrying it as a form of penitence. Now I’m not dismissing the need to recognize our failures (sins). God recognized them. That’s why He sent Jesus, to deal with them.

Guilt becomes unhealthy when it becomes a method we use to punish ourselves for our past. This positions us as a judge, jury, prosecutor, and accuser at our own trial. Without knowing it, we’re attempting to hold a place in the trinity. As far as I can tell, all three positions are covered now and throughout eternity. The danger is this makes us responsible for cleansing ourselves of sin, which only Jesus can do. This is a form of idolatry because it is self focused. We become the source of forgiveness and cleansing which we earn through our actions. This makes us a competitor to and substitute for Calvary.  The Apostle Paul gave stern warnings against this false religion. He said this belief was a pollutant that spread disease.

Healthy guilt (brought about by the Holy Spirit, not ourselves), convicts us of sin with the intention of leading us to repentance and into forgiveness. God doesn’t want us living in guilt, He wants us living in grace.

Remember, God reveals in order to heal. Revealing is a first step of the healing process. As salvation occurs instantaneously, we should move immediately from the guilt of sin into repentance and grace. The only thing delaying us from moving out of guilt into grace is ourselves, and that’s idolatry.

Personal Response

  • Do you have any healthy guilt? Immediately repent and receive Christ’s forgiveness.
  • Do you have any unhealthy guilt that you are carrying as a penitence for your sin? Immediately stop, turn away from your idolatry, and turn to Jesus in repentance. Immediately receive His forgiveness, cleansing, and grace.

Release the Past

June 10, 2010

Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13

 Let’s face it, we’ve all suffered the consequences resulting from the actions and choices of others. Words spoken in anger, physical and emotional attacks that wound. Hurts whose stinging pain penetrates the heart.  While we’ve all been the victim, we’ve all afflicted pain on others. The memory of our actions easily entraps us in regret and the endless cycle of “if only.”

It’s Paul’s life experience that makes his words so powerful. If anyone could have been plagued by regret, it would have been Paul. In his religious zeal he persecuted the church and martyred Christians.  He was the headmaster at Stephen’s stoning, where he watched a follower of Christ courageously die while praying for his accusers.

Like Paul, we can experience the transforming power of Jesus which exceeds the power of our past. We are not to deny our past (sins we’ve committed or sins committed against us), yet we are not to be trapped by them. When painful reminders of the wounds caused by others come, we need to remember that God has the ability to heal us from past hurts. Any pain he allows, he has a plan to use and heal. He paid the full price for our redemption and healing on Calvary.

 Let your woundedness draw you to the healer. Let Christ take your pain and make you sensitive to hurting people. Allow the regret of the afflictions you have caused to  inspire you to live a transformed life. Release the bondage of the past along with the regret. Paul, Stephen’s murder, chose to embrace grace, not guilt. This empowered Paul to live and die in a way that honored God.

Don’t allow the mistakes of your past to disqualify you from the future. Let your learning inspire you to live differently. God transforming truth is always more powerful than your past.

  • What pain do you need to release and ask God to heal and use?
  • What regret do you need to release and exchange for a transformed life?