Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christian Guilt

I heard somewhere recently (some tv commentary, don't remember who) that guilt is a Judeo-Christian concept. Which reminded me of an acquaintance I once knew who was lamenting having not spent more time with a recently deceased loved one. I said not to feel guilty and he said he didn't ever feel guilty; that was something for Christians. Which brought me up short. One, this meant he was not a Christian. How sad. But also, why should I feel guilt as a Christian? Wouldn't I feel guilt even if I didn't believe in Christ as my Savior? I didn't get it.

Now some years later I have a bit more insight into that concept. Not to say I completely get it but here's what I think. Because of the way we are taught as children and because of how we are wired as human beings, we think we should be "good".... better.... better than others, better than we are, just better.  And we kick ourselves because we can't get there.  And feel guilty.

Now we know from the Bible that we can never be free from sin. Or perfect. So we are beaten before we even start. Then we feel guilty because we can't do it.

I think this guilt keeps us from embracing the most basic of Christian beliefs. Christ died to take all those imperfections we can't correct. And He loves us, warts and all. And He won't give us brownie points for trying to be "better". So, if we really believe in Christ and our relationship with Him, are we not questioning His love for us if we allow ourselves to feel guilt for our imperfections? If we are to be Christ-like, shouldn't we love ourselves as we are instead of beat ourselves up for what we aren't?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm sure God wants us to try, just so we'll feel uplifted and so we can have others be lifted up as well. After all, if we are to love others as Christ loves us, we will want to make things as good as possible on His behalf..... for them...... and for ourselves.

But I also think we should be wary of going for "better" if it is going to make us appear to be better than our neighbors. God loves us just the way we are, and He loves them that way, also. So shouldn't our neighbors see that in us? Not see us trying to be "better" all the time? How can they understand He will take them as they are if we don't demonstrate we have been taken that way already?

Christ's love for me was the hardest part for me to get. I'm not going to let it be ruined by my guilt.

God, I know I'm guilty of sin, but I also know you took that sin. Thank you! Thank you for loving me just the way I am.


Cow Pies & Mud Pies said...

Amen sister!

Broken Y said...

Hey there! Thank you for the visit!

I think guilt is necessary to draw us to repentence. If we've committed a wrong and don't feel guilt, where will the heart change begin? However, to allow guilt to rule us in a sense that never draws us to the redeeming love of Jesus is a guilt that Satan has complete control over! An unhealthy guilt that makes all of our faults overwhelming.

The Love of Christ is an amazing thing, and so hard to grasp because it is so far reaching. But once we do . . . WOW, how cool to know that in this massive universe, with all these people, Jesus holds ME and YOU close every minute of every day!

I will be back Sweet Friend! Thank you! I needed this today!


coloradocowgirl said...

We have a great Christian friend who "came out of the closet". He has never practiced his tendency but has admitted to it. Sadly he was not embraced by his Christian family. He loves the Lord wholeheartedly and has been such an example to me of throwing himself before the Lord daily while still being tuned into the Lord so as to be a vessel. God continues to use him in a mighty way. Anyway, my point is that he has a saying that I love. "Never trust Christians that don't walk with a limp." In other words, we all have sin. The moment we believe we are better than someone else, we better think again.