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Monday, February 21, 2011

Guilt and Grace

Today I'm reading 2 Corinthians 7:8-10. "Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

My message yesterday was about repentance (from Nehemiah 9). Not a popular topic but a necessary one if we truly want to move forward to the transformation Christ can bring. One of the things that holds people back from repentance is the struggle with guilt.

Paul says there are two kinds of guilt (he calls it sorrow). There's the kind that leads nowhere. The worldly kind that just leads to self-pity, self-lothing, feelings of condemnation and rejection from God and others - but that's it. It's a non-productive guilt because it doesn't lead to repentance. It just spins and spins and and paralyzes people so that they can't move forward.

Godly guilt is a good thing, because it leads to repentance. If we have done something wrong we should feel guilty. If you don't feel guilt when you've done something wrong it means your conscience has been muted, dulled. The extreme of this is the sociopath who feels no remorse at all for his/her actions no matter how violent or damaging. So, it's a good thing to feel guilt IF it leads you to the foot of the cross. Paul says it leads to salvation! That's pretty important stuff.

We need to have a tender conscience. A soft heart before God. Nehemiah 9 talks about people who are 'stiff-necked' toward God. Don't let that happen to you! If you struggle with false guilt be sure and meditate on today's prayer.


Today's prayer:
Dear Father, If there is one thing that can kill a person gradually, it is guilt. And Lord, I am spending sleepless nights struggling with this feeling of guilt.Your Word says that Your blood can only has cleansed me off all my sins and unrighteousness and made me holy. But this guilt of the past is chasing me. So I understand that this guilt is from the devil and he is the one who tries to dig out what Your love has already covered. You have overcome the evil one and rendered him powerless.Father, I once again acknowledge that You have washed away all my sins, declared me righteous and holy, and the devil no longer has any power over me. Dear Father, help me to control my thoughts and overcome my unbelief.Father, I thank You for helping me to come out of this thought of guilt and assuring me that I am Your son, as You have washed me off all my sins. In Jesus' mighty name I pray. Amen.

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