Important note: All 'In moments of pain' articles are partially adapted from sources here.
IN MOMENTS OF PAIN – PART FIVE
Winning the Battle Over Guilt And Condemnation
Don’t keep looking at my sins.Remove the stain of my guilt.Create in me a clean heart, O God.Renew a loyal spirit within me.Do not banish me from your presence,and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
Guilt is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. It comes when a person realizes the wrong that he has committed. Guilt is a kind of self-inflicted wound.
Many people handle guilt by punishing themselves. They cannot forgive themselves for what they have done, and so therefore they try to atone their sin through self-punishment. When we do something wrong, we walk ourselves along the path of self-judging, self-criticizing, self-condemning and self-hating. The result of this process leads to hopelessness and despair, helplessness, depression, and possibly suicide.
Condemnation is defined as strong censure; disapprobation; reproof. It is actually a form of rejection and being cast aside for no apparent reasons. Unlike guilt, you do not have to do something to be condemned.
Condemnation is merely an act of disapproval. When we feel that we do not measure up, when we see our shortcomings instead of our abilities, when we fail to understand that Jesus loves us for who we are and not for what we do, condemnation begins to creep in like a thief. If it is left unattended, it can slowly consume our lives.
Guilt always brings condemnation, but condemnation is not always the result of guilt.
Dealing With Guilt
The pain that come as a result of guilt can be very destructive. To add on to the pain, we receive even more condemnation from the people around us, even Christians. They may be well-meaning people trying to point out where we have gone wrong, but they just did it the wrong way.
It is one thing to show a person where he has gone wrong, but it is even more important to help him get out of the mess and restore him to life. When someone knows that he has sinned and has repented, there is no point bringing up the issue again.
I remember an incident when I made a careless mistake, and someone pointed it out. She is (or was) someone who I had looked up to. And while I appreciated her efforts of pointing out to me where I have gone wrong, she really did not help much by constantly telling me what is wrong and not doing anything to help me get back on track. And because she was a person of authority, I felt so guilty and dirty even though it was not a very big mistake. To make things worse, I did not thing that she was doing anything wrong until someone pointed it out to me. Till today, this person still thinks that she was helping me by making me feel guilty. As a result of that, I suffered with immense guilt to the point of giving up.
The bible has actually warned against the reinstatement of guilt over a person’s life, or else he may be so overcome by discouragement (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).
If you are ever overwhelmed with guilt, remember that no matter what you have done, God still forgives you if you repent. All you need to do is to come before God, admit your wrong, ask for His forgiveness, receive it and move on. Many of us stop at asking for God’s forgiveness and we repeat the whole process over and over again. We never get our breakthrough because we have never received His forgiveness.
Let King David be our example. He did an amazing thing after learning that the son Bathsheeba had born to him has died as a result of the sin. When the baby was ill, David was fasting and pleading for the child. But when the baby died, King David got up, washed himself, put on his clothes, worshipped the Lord in the temple and I believed that was when he wrote Psalms 51), and ate.
King David knew how to receive God’s forgiveness and move on with life. God did not disregard him simply because of that sin, because God sees the heart.
It I also important that we apply the principle given in James 5:16.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Because guilt brings so much damage, confessing them can bring a lot of healing. It’s like taking a huge burden off your shoulders. However, what is very important is who we should confess to. The verse says that the earnest prayer of a righteous person produces wonderful results. In other words, that person must be someone who we can really trust, and is walking closely with the Lord. If he truly walks closely with the Lord, he will be able to accept the sin graciously without any condemnation, and work to pick that person up again. He will not reject the person for their mistakes, neither will he spread the story around and cause further damages.
Our sins cannot be cleansed by feeling guilty. We cannot pay for what we have done by feeling dirty and beating ourselves up all the time. It is only the blood of Jesus that cleanses us.
Dealing With Condemnation
Paul says in Romans 8:1 that there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. It means that the very moment we accept Jesus into our lives, there is no need to feel condemned. There is no need to feel disapproved and lowly. If God has accepted us, why can we not accept ourselves?
Remember that Jesus has bought us with His blood. We, the redeemed, are supposed to lift our heads up high without feeling condemned. If ever you do feel condemned, remember who you are: a child of the Most High, an ambassador of Christ, a part of God’s perfect workmanship!