It’s late at night and sleep isn’t coming. Instead, snippets of past sins – the obnoxious words, the stupid decisions, the things I didn’t do but should have – all those cringeworthy things that could fill volumes of books, begin to fill my brain.
Guilt is more than an emotion. It’s a thief. A murderer. For a woman of God, clinging to guilt is not a sign of humility; it is a sin.
I recently conversed with a woman who felt guilty about making parenting mistakes regarding teaching spirituality when her kids were young. Boy, could I relate. My own kids were impacted in many ways by my ignorance as an emotion-driven young Christian mom, and there are consequences. Yep, been there, and still making repairs. How about you?
It is so easy to feel shame and unworthiness before God about the sins of our past. After all, He gave us these precious little ones to steward, so we are tempted to put on a cloak of guilt and shame as if we somehow let Him down. But we must not do that.
The truth is that He knows our sins and our shortcomings, and gave us those children anyway. Christ bears our guilt and shame. He bled and died for all of it.
Romans 5:18 tells us “through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men.”
But the second part to that verse: “Even so, through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.”
Jesus died to cover our guilt, and justified us, declaring us innocent. That gavel has been banged, so to speak, and those who believe on Him are set free.
So what do we do with our guilt?
We recognize it as a feeling and not a condition.
There is a healthy guilt, which might be the Holy Spirit convicting us to repent. (2 Corinthians 7: 9-13) We confess any sin we have to God, and stop wallowing in our guilt. Believe me, I have had to do this myself as I am (was) a classic wallower. The enemy would LOVE to see us remain in bondage.
The cure for guilt: The Gospel
When I find myself lamenting the parental mistakes I’ve made I remember that God is sovereign, and sovereignly uses all of it for His glory and in His timing. I am no longer under wrath and condemnation, but I am a new creation – and thankful to have good friends who will remind me of this truth and gently rebuke me when I forget.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).