Getting Rid of Feelings of Guilt

We all have guilty feelings at one time or another. Sometimes it’s about some of the things we’ve done in life that have hurt others. We might feel guilty because we know we could have been a better person or made better choices and decisions in situations. Maybe we opted to promote or do what was best for our own self-interest and didn’t consider anyone else involved. There may also be individuals that carry feelings of guilt and they can’t figure out why. They just feel guilty all the time, and it makes them feel down, insecure, and pessimistic. The most important thing we have to know is that God doesn’t want us to carry around feelings of guilt. He gave His Son to die as a sacrifice for our sins so we can live a life that is free and full of His love and light.

What is guilt? Guilt is a weight, and the weight of guilt will keep us from progressing forward in the Will of the Father. There is no question that we must deal with feelings of guilt by confronting them. In order to confront them, we have to know a little bit about guilt. We have to know what it is, where it came from, and why it exists. The common definition of guilt is a sense of regret for wrong actions, bad behavior, incorrect choices, and poor decisions. Being guilty is a judgment from a higher authority for breaking or violating a law. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we know there’s no higher authority than God. He made the laws, and in the highest sense, being guilty is violating God’s statues and commandments without repentance.

God is a Righteous Judge, and there is no other being of any kind with this distinction. No one compares to His righteousness. Judgment comes from Him, and according to His judgment, the wages of sin is death. Sin puts us in bondage and destroys the lives of people, but because of God’s mercy and grace, salvation through Jesus Christ is our ‘get out of jail’ free gift. Romans 6:23(NLT) tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” God has decreed that death is the punishment for sinful behavior, but the good news is that He has made a way for us through Jesus Christ to be free from the bondage of sin and death. This truth is where we need to focus our hearts. Through Christ we have been set free. Galatians 5:1(NLT) tells us, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

Where did guilt come from? Human beings have numerous opinions, speculations, and assumptions about subjects as varied as the sand on the ocean. We’d like to believe that we are always right and that we know what we’re talking about. We’ve all coined ourselves experts in some form or another, and many of us have developed arrogance and pride around what we think we know for sure. Humility demands us to face the reality that we don’t know anything. The longer we live, the more we’ll discover this out. The only thing we can count on is the truth of what God tells us in His Word. Heavenly Father instructs us in Jeremiah 9:24(NLT), “But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!” If it were not for God, we would not have a clue about what is wrong or right. He sets those standards, and when we violate them, we must repent and acknowledge that He is righteous, and His judgement is right.

All negative emotions and feelings are rooted in fear and shame, and these come from the devil, they belong to his kingdom of darkness. Guilt is birthed out of shame, and shame is the first identifiable remnant of disobedience that God reveals to us in His Word. Genesis 2:25(NLT) tells us, “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” God’s intention was that humans live in bliss, and we see this with the first couple, but once they allowed themselves to be tricked into disobedience by satan, sin entered their bodies and brought all its cousins with it. Shame was the heaviest and most pronounced indication that a violation of God’s laws had occurred. Adam and Eve were both in the garden of Eden and had nothing at all to fear or be ashamed of, but after they sinned against the Father, they felt shame, and then guilt came in. Genesis 3:7(NLT) tells us, “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.” Shame and guilt are from the devil and they are designed by him to hide us from the reality of who God ordained us to be in Christ.

Many people deny that satan exists, and they don’t want to believe in the reality of spiritual darkness and evil. They are blinded by arrogance and will not listen to God. They refuse to discern according to God’s Word, and because of this, satan uses their emotions and feelings to keep them separated from His truth. We cannot be free by believing the lies of the devil. Jesus Christ declared in John 8:32 that only the truth will make us free. When people believe themselves too intelligent to recognize the devil’s shenanigans, and will not allow themselves to know the truth, he can continue to keep them blinded and in bondage. Guilty feelings is one of the ways the devil achieves this, and as believers, we must wake up to his tricks.

Jesus Christ tells us in John 10:10(NLT), “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Our Master Jesus is informing and teaching us the truth! At one time, before we came to Christ, we were lost in sin and guilty of it, but when we accepted him and his love into our hearts, he redeemed us from the curse of sin. Praise God for what He has done for us through Jesus Christ! We are redeemed, but we also must understand that it is possible for us to feel guilty even though Christ has made us righteous through his work on the cross.

Why does guilt exists? Jesus Christ said in John 16:7-8 (NKJV), “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” The Holy Spirit convicts us of our wrong doing so that we will know internally when we have done something that didn’t please God. Conviction is designed to bring about change. It is not supposed to keep us chained to the past, but it is designed to teach us correction so that we can continue to be blessed and go higher in Christ.

As children that were treated badly in our childhoods, sometimes we hold on to the guilt as adults. Deep down, we feel that because we were treated so bad, we must have done something wrong. We feel unworthy or unlovable. God wants us to be free from this. Many people punish themselves because they feel guilty, but God has freed us from the past. Through Christ, God has already dealt with your sin. This is one of the reasons God instructs us to renew our minds, so that we know how much He loves us and how much He wants us to honor Christ, ask for his forgiveness, and repent so that we will be free and light in our hearts and minds.

We should rejoice that the Holy Spirit lives within, and that he will help us by making us aware of when we’re operating outside the example of Christ. Thank God that He not only gives us an opportunity to correct ourselves, but He helps us to walk in that correction so that our hearts and minds are changed. None of us are perfect. We’re going to make mistakes and lots of them, but we must not live in condemnation. We have the Spirit of Christ within us! We have been freed by Christ to live a free life, and we need to release feelings of guilt and embrace even more the love God that has for us. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Getting Rid of Feelings of Guilt”, written for© 2022. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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