Wednesday, 23 April 2014

What is Guilt?

"Oh, I wouldn't want to do that.  It might make them feel guilty about what they've done."

Have you ever noticed that in our post-modern culture we are often afraid to have our words or actions cause other people to feel guilty?  We think feeling guilty is bad, and that if we cause someone to feel guilty - we have done something wrong.  Like we are the ones who need to guard people from the truth.  Or we are the ones who need to control other people's feelings.  And what's more, most of the time, should someone admit to guilt or imperfection - our gut reaction is to tell them that they did nothing wrong.

But what if they did?  I mean, its at least possible, isn't it? 

Guilt isn't bad.  And it isn't bad to feel guilt.  Guilt is like the fever your body gets when it is responding to infection.  Guilt is the way your conscience reacts when it knows something is wrong.  Oh!  Something isn't perfect - release the guilt pheromones. 

Your conscience is trying to protect you from harmful sin by making you feel guilty - but in today's day, the moment you speak of this "fever" you are having - everyone around you tells you "You shouldn't have a fever"  "You shouldn't feel guilty."  "You've done nothing wrong."  What does this do to your conscience?  To your health?

Here is the news flash.

You are not in control of other people's feelings.  If the truth makes them feel guilty - they are supposed to feel guilty.  (This is not a licence to hurt people's feelings.)

You are not to guard people from the truth.  If the truth makes them feel guilty - they are supposed to feel guilty.  (Again, not a licence to hurt people's feelings.)

But Guilt isn't BAD!  Christ has taken the guilt of all people!  He has been punished for it, and promises forgiveness.  There is only one way to get your "fever" to go down.  Hear Christ declare you righteous and forgiven on account of Him.  Hear God say - yeah, you did this or that - you thought this or that - you said this or that - but I forgive you.  His Word is the Tylenol that cuts the heat.  His Promise is the truth that overcomes the truth of your guilt.

So instead of telling someone - "You've done nothing wrong" - say - "You are forgiven.  Jesus died for you."

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