Tag Archives: false guilt

Charles Stanley – The Weight of Guilt

 

John 3:16-17

False guilt can be an intolerable weight for the believer to bear. The nagging sense of shame can lead us to doubt the Lord’s love and goodness; we might even start to wonder if our salvation is real. Thankfully, though, we can have relief.

First of all, it’s helpful to identify the root cause of our guilt. (Check yesterday’s devotion for a description of several potential causes.) Next, we must affirm three truths:

I am special. Any reason we give to “prove” otherwise is a lie from Satan. We are each a one-of-a-kind creation. The Lord chose to create us and endow us with specific talents and abilities meant to be used for His glory (Eph. 2:10).

I am loved. The heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so we could live with Him eternally. We don’t have to do anything to earn His love; it is already ours for the receiving. All we must do is believe that He died in our place, was buried, and rose again.

I am forgiven. If we confess our sins, the Lord forgives. The Bible promises the process is as simple as that (1 John 1:9).

Since it’s Satan who stimulates false guilt, the final step is to renounce his lies. Make a declaration to this effect: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I reject these feelings of guilt, because they have absolutely no scriptural basis. They are false, and I refuse to acknowledge them.” The result will be that the heavy weight of guilt lifts from the heart.

Bible in One Year:Isaiah 23-27

Charles Stanley – The Struggle With Guilt

 

1 John 1:5-9

What believers do about guilty feelings has a lot to do with what they understand about guilt. By definition, the word refers to a sense of wrongdoing—an emotional conflict arising from second thoughts about a particular action or thought. The biblical method for clearing away such feelings is repentance.

However, many believers are plagued by false guilt, which is not actually rooted in sin. It can develop in several ways:

A church caught up in legalism can foster this unhealthy feeling. A member may not do enough of what is “required” (such as praying, Bible reading, and witnessing). Or she may do things that others in the church categorize as wrong, even though there’s no scriptural basis for their opinion.

Painful memories of abuse in childhood often lead an adult to believe he is somehow to blame for the sins committed against him.

Hearing believers’ criticisms of others can lead to low self-esteem. Without clear discernment, a person may get the sense that he can’t measure up to God’s standards or the world’s.

Genuine, biblically based conviction is an anxiety in the spirit over a definite, willful sin. All the various causes of false shame have one thing in common: They are not the result of sinful behavior. Such feelings are Satan’s tool for harassing God’s people.

When we understand that true conviction is the Holy Spirit’s loving pressure on our spirit to correct a specific wrong, we can reject Satan’s attempts to distract us with lies. Whatever the cause of false guilt, it must be unearthed and removed from the believer’s life.

Bible in One Year:Isaiah 19-22

Victory Over Guilt

John 3:16-17

At times, people are bound by guilt long after the feeling should have been resolved. Some rightly live with it because they refuse to give up the sin that brought it on. Meanwhile, others suffer the weight of false guilt because they harbor shame that doesn’t belong to them. Whatever the root cause of your condemnation, the battle plan remains the same.

Victory over guilt begins with understanding that Jesus took our shame to the cross and paid our penalty. There is no way that we can pay for our own sin. But we do need to honestly identify the source of our guilt and confess before God. That means we agree with His perspective on what we’ve done. In other words, we admit when we’re wrong. Repentance goes a step further: we turn away from the wrong and choose to do right.

Confronting guilt in this way replaces the weight of shame in our heart with peace and joy, which are far lighter and more freeing. And an amazing side effect is that we have wisdom to share. Openness about our past mistakes, resulting consequences, guilt burdens, and forgiveness can reveal the Lord to those in our sphere of influence. Through our witness, God may reach others who need their guilt chains broken.

The battle to overcome guilt is one that should not be delayed. The feeling won’t just go away. Whether your condemnation is true or false, it needs to be dealt with quickly. Stop running, and face the source of your guilt. It’s time to end your captivity and start walking in the joy of God’s blessing.

Understanding Guilt

John 8:1-11

Guilt over doing something that violates the conscience is a normal emotion. However, living under a cloud of remorse for no discernible reason is not. The Lord designed feelings of culpability and regret to serve as a reminder that a person has done wrong and needs to repent. But Satan twists those emotions to imprison men and women: those living in shame are uncertain of God’s love and often lack self-confidence.

Good guilt–the Lord’s effective tool for prompting repentance–is a gift that helps us find the right path. However, the Devil encourages false guilt, which involves taking responsibility for things outside our control and then suffering self-condemnation for not changing the outcome. This unhealthy type of guilt is also a widespread problem for those in legalistic churches or lifestyles–certain behaviors or thoughts are labeled as wrong, and then people feel ashamed for doing or thinking those things.

Self-condemnation stunts a relationship with Jesus. Instead of enjoying the peace of God, people who are trapped by shame fear His rejection and feel driven to prove their worth. Trust is nearly impossible because they are waiting for God’s judgment to rain down. Their guilt even colors how they see themselves: rather than saying, “My action is wrong,” they say, “I am bad.”

Jesus did not come to accuse or condemn us. Christ restored our souls and made us righteous before God so that our guilt is removed. If our Savior forgave the woman caught in an adulterous relationship, just imagine how ready He is to take your shame away too (John 8:11).