Thursday, January 22, 2015

Prescription for Peace Part 2 Guilt

Guilt and regret about the past will prevent us from ever knowing peace.

Some years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read, "God forgives. Let Him." Did you know that there are two kinds of guilt?
  • Real guilt  caused by unconfessed sin in our lives. 
  • False guilt when we have confessed our sin and asked for God's forgiveness but do not forgive ourselves. 
The only solution to real guilt is to ask God to forgive us. The past cannot be changed, but you can be washed as clean as snow in the blood of Jesus. He has promised that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us (see 1 John 1:9).

False guilt plagues us when we don't comprehend the vastness of God's love and mercy, or we believe our sins are too grievous to be forgiven. We are essentially saying that Jesus' death on the cross is not sufficient to provide forgiveness of our sins.

When I was five years old, I invited Jesus into my life to be my personal Friend. At that young age, I didn't understand just how much God enjoys His relationship with us as His children.

During my early years, my parents operated a children's home, As their eldest child, I can't count the times I heard, "AnnaLee, you've got to set a good example for the others." That was too heavy a load for me to carry.

My mother was a godly, loving mother, but she was a perfectionist. Like any good mother, she always taught me how to do everything "right"--to her satisfaction. Since I loved and admired her, I wanted to be like her. Living up to her expectations wasn't easy! I soon began to feel that I could never please her, even though I tried to be perfect.

Without additional adult help, the children's home kept Mother very busy. She didn't have time for one-on-one with me. I remember when I was in first grade, I asked her to curl my hair for a special event. She said she didn't have time. Yet, she always made time to fix my little sister's hair. I believed she didn't love me as much, that I needed to be perfect to make her love me. I decided that if I got straight As and went to college, she would love me. (Of course, she always loved me. Years later, when I told her what I had thought, she cried.)

Unfortunately, I grew to believe that God expected me to be perfect too. No matter how hard I tried, though, I made mistakes. I was cranky. I fought with my sister. I got jealous. I complained about chores. I would ask God to forgive me, but I imagined Him checking His records and saying sternly, "You've sure done a lot of bad things. I'll forgive you this time. Just don't you ever do it again."

But I was a child. Of course, I failed--again and again. I carried a lot of guilt--false guilt.

Bobby (at two months) and me
When I grew up and became a mother, I really enjoyed watching my son learn to sit up, walk, talk, feed himself. Oh, he fell down many times as he learned to walk.  Did I love him less? Of course not! Did I kick him when he fell down? No! I reached out and helped him get up and try again. When he spilled food on his clothes or milk on the floor, I cleaned him up. I smiled when he talked about his "airbow" (elbow) or asked for more "spusgetti" (spaghetti). I was very proud of his progress, even though he wasn't doing anything perfectly.

Around that time, I read a little book titled, Guilt and Freedom, by Bruce Narramore and Bill Counts, and I realized that God, our Heavenly Father, enjoys His children just as much as we enjoy ours and is even more patient with us as we learn and grow spiritually. When we are trying to obey Him and make mistakes, He is quick to forgive us the moment we confess it and ask His forgiveness. That understanding set me free from the false guilt I had carried so long.

When we forgive, we still remember the injury. but God is not like us. When we repent and turn from our sinful ways, our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus and erased from God's sight, never to be remembered against us again (Isaiah 43:25). Our sins are expunged from the record just as though we had never done it. The slate is wiped clean. We enjoy freedom from guilt and have fellowship with God.

God forgives. Are you forgiving yourself?

1 comment:

  1. AnnaLee, this is so beautiful, so freeing. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom.

    Love the photo of you and your son.

    I thank God that He introduced you in my life.