Fourth in a series
It’ll keep you bound and be your continual, inward tormentor unless you know how to be set free.
Such a small word; but, oh how powerful a force when not dealt with. That’s why it’s important for us to understand its origin, purpose and effects upon us if we’re to be freed from it.
So, the beginning question is “What is guilt and where does it come from?”
If you Google “guilt” on your computer, you’ll find some 80-81,000,000 websites dealing with the subject. And, most likely, if you had the time to visit each one you’d find a myriad of definitions and causes. For sure, the scientific community (psychiatry, psychology, sociology, etc.) would point to various things like mental illness, one’s background, disorders and diseases, etc.
But, when you read the Bible, you’ll find one source of guilt: sin.
Long before anyone knew anything about the conscience, psyche, reasoning, logic, etc., we find the existence of guilt. Even in a cursory reading of Genesis, chapters 2-3 we find its cause-and-effect.
In those verses you’ll see how God gave Adam and Eve choices and told them the consequences of choosing the “forbidden fruit” (Gen. 2:7, 16-17). Then, in Gen. 3:1-11 we find out what happened when they did: instead of fellowshipping with God, there was fear, guilt, shame, hiding and scapegoating (blaming others).
Thus, it’s clear that sin and guilt are inseparable. There’s a Standard that establishes conduct and consequences (the Law) and what happens when one disobeys or “crosses the line.” That’s why most of our society’s laws are rooted in Judeo-Christian views-and-values (the 10 Commandments) because they are the foundation of a just, civil society.
Sadly, in our attempt to keep God out of the picture, we’ve ended up with chaos and confusion. Truly, when we reject Absolute Truth and try to be our own “authority”—where right-and-wrong are what we believe them to be—the end-result is what we see in our society today.
That’s why anger and anarchy are escalating at an alarming rate. That’s also why we have such dysfunction, division and destruction: God has turned us over to a “reprobate” (perverse/perverted) mind where we call “good” bad and “bad” good (Romans 1:18-32).
Consequently, guilt is rampant—yea, raging—and so many have a “seared (callused) conscience” (I Timothy 4:2) and no longer recognize or feel it. Instead of admitting our wrongdoing, like Adam, we try to cover it up or blame others for what we’ve done (Gen. 3:7, 11-12).
Likewise, we often try to be free of our guilt and shame through appeasement, i.e., trying to “make it up” to God and others through good deeds or acts of contrition. Or, we go to counselors in an attempt to understand why we did what we did and how to be free of those “accusing voices” within.
But, none of those will work, dear Reader. None of them.
That’s why we need to know how to be forgiven or “cleansed” from the guilty stain of sin; otherwise, our conscience will always be the courtroom of our inward prosecution.
Next week we’ll continue our look at guilt and how to be freed from it as we continue our series on “Pulling Down Strongholds.” We’ll look further at what the Bible has to say about sin-and-guilt and how to have a clean conscience where you’re no longer shackled by past sins.
Here’s hoping you’ll tune in and encourage others to do the same. Life’s too short to live in the never-never land of what could/should have been, but never will be. How thankful I am that the same One Who created us in our mother’s womb and knows everything about us is also forgiving and specializes in the “Land of New Beginnings.”
Amen and amen. God bless you.
NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.