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Faith and Life: How to live free of guilt

July 08, 2011|By Kimberlie Zakarian

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:13.

I am curious about how many of us live in a polarity of this verse. What I am suggesting is that some of us are guilt-driven (unable to forgive ourselves long after God has forgiven us), and some use this verse to receive quick forgiveness: saying a prayer, accepting the forgiveness, only to use it again when the desire to step out of God’s will becomes another temptation.

Let’s look at the first. Guilt. I am definitely guilt-driven, so I can relate to this one. If someone is hurting or a mistake has been made, I may end up exploring myself to see if I in any way contributed to it. And even if I did not, I may carry worry and guilt that I could’ve done something to help. This is something I have definitely had to work on.

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Being guilt-driven takes away the power of Christ’s sacrifice. Once we repent, we do not live in God’s wrath. Being guilt-driven often comes from our families and our upbringing. It takes thoughtful intent to overcome, and sometimes pastoral or professional help.

The bottom line is, if you really had no part in it, there is no legitimate reason for guilt. You can feel compassion, sympathy, even empathy, but no need for guilt. If you did contribute and you repented and walked the other way, you also have no punishment upon you.

Take this verse at face value. God means it. Psychologically, guilt is very unhealthy. We cannot erase circumstances that have already occurred. We will make ourselves sick fretting over them.

But seeking forgiveness, ceasing negative behaviors that we may have added to events and walking in the freedom forgiveness offers can free us from the burden of guilt.

And guilt inhibits all fruit in our lives. This affects our personal health, our families, work performance and friendships. Spiritually and psychologically, guilt destroys. Repent, clean up your habits or personal characteristics that lead to bad behaviors and choices and accept the gift of forgiveness. Go and sin no more.

And if you were innocent and inappropriately feeling guilt, contemplate what this guilt complex is all about and get the help you need, because guilt can destroy your emotional health.

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