God addresses the challenges of life and offers us answers through His word, the Bible. In my last blog, I shared from the sermon series on Soul Therapy, which was all about Accepting Myself. We are a spirit. We have a soul. We live in a body. We should be viewing ourselves as God views us and be unconcerned with how the world views us. This blog is a continuation of that same sermon series of Soul Therapy. As you can see, this one will touch on the subject of a clear conscience and living with guilt.
Conscience: A sense of right and wrong; it governs our thoughts and actions.
Many of us, Christian or not, live with a guilty conscience. We even get to a point where we don’t feel comfortable in God’s presence…whether praying, attending church etc. We often forget that we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
The key to a clear conscience is dealing with guilt.
Guilt: The nagging knowledge that we have done wrong; often accompanied by regret and shame.
There is both a positive guilt and a negative guilt. Living with negative guilt can rob us of any relationship in life, even our relationship with God. Positive guilt is the kind of guilt we are overcome with through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will convict us for things we have done wrong in the eyes of God. The Holy Spirit’s guilt is specific and focuses on exactly what we have done wrong and points us to God.
The Spirit’s conviction will always point us to God, who offers forgiveness through repentance. When we repent we see our errors and commit ourselves to going God’s way. The Holy Spirit offers us the positive kind of guilt in that it always allows you an escape from danger; a remedy for your circumstance. The Spirit will always point you in the right direction and give you hope!
The devil’s guilt is the negative kind of guilt, otherwise known as condemnation. This guilt is never specific and is usually always general. This type of guilt points us away from God and tells us we are hopeless and without worth. Many people are living in condemnation, even when it comes to things they have already been forgiven for through God. The devil is relentless and will continually attempt to break you down. He will repeatedly bring up old issues to produce guilt in you and try to make you feel as a hypocrite, only to strip you of your beliefs. He will force-feed you lies such as, “God will never forgive you” and make you question yourself as a Christian. We must remind ourselves that we are free from condemnation through God! Christianity does not equal perfection. We sin before we become Christians and even after! So many of us become absorbed by guilt and yet we don’t determine it’s correct origin. Where is it coming from? Is it truly the Holy Spirit convicting you or is it the devil making you relive something God has already forgotten?
Sometimes with negative guilt we try to hide the wrong we have done. This may work with hiding from certain people but we all know we cannot hide anything from God. Trying to hide your guilt will weigh heavily on you and your health. You’ll try to ignore it, avoid it and yet you’ll remain miserable and exhausted. We cannot hide our guilt, we have to DEAL with it!
Another wrong way we try to handle negative guilt is by rationalizing the wrong! Some try to justify their wrong doings like King Saul. King Saul started off on the right path but ended in tragedy. He continually made decisions without consulting God and placed blame elsewhere; always blaming others for the outcome of his own actions. With these type of people there is always a “because” or reason they will give you for why they did wrong. This is not responding correctly to guilt.
Genesis 3:11-12 is probably the most classic example of someone trying to rationalize and place blame.
We see God talking to Adam and Adam placing blame on Eve. Instead of owning up to his decision to eat the forbidden fruit (which he was told not to eat) he tried to shift the blame from himself to Eve.
ALL of us know right from wrong. We ALL ultimately make our own decisions in life. We have to stop placing blame for our wrong choices on how we were raised, our parents, our siblings, our friends, where we had to grow up etc and we have to acknowledge we are in charge of what we choose. We have to take responsibility for our actions. There comes a point in time where we are all old enough to know right from wrong and we cannot use those excuses or continue to blame those people or circumstances for our mistakes and bad choices now.
To enjoy a clear conscience we must address the guilt, confess the guilt, accept forgiveness and live freely! Everyone makes mistakes and we will never experience grace if we don’t address our sin.
God erases our mistakes and makes us clean. He is always offering us a fresh start and we must not let the devil keep reminding us of what God has already forgotten! You’re not obligated to entertain the devil. Put him in his place and live freely through God!
I pray all of us are able to decipher between the positive and negative kind of guilt in our lives. May we all deal with our guilt and set ourselves free! Don’t live in negative guilt and allow the devil to control your mind. Remind yourself that you are forgiven by God. We can never go wrong when we bring our problems to God!
Much Love and God Bless 💚