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The Gift of Guilt

…But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6.11

Guilt is a powerful feeling. No one likes it, but it is a gift. Guilt tells us we have done something wrong. When we feel guilt over doing something wrong, we always do something with the guilt. We only have a few options of what to do with it. We can ignore it, and try to hide our wrong. This only leads to anxiety and fear, hoping no one finds out what we did. We can blame others for what we did wrong. But this will lead us to loneliness, because eventually everyone we blame will leave us, because they don’t want to feel our shame. Or we can try to cover up our guilty conscience by compensating for the wrong we did by doing a lot of good. But this leads to perfectionism and insecurity, because how do we know if we ever did enough good to make up for the bad we have done?

Because none of the former options actually takes away the guilt we feel, some have said guilt is just a social construct, and can be easily dismissed. But guilt is part of our design features as humans. Guilt is a gift, not to lead us to covering up, blaming, or compensating. It is a gift to lead us back to God, against whom we have ultimately sinned. Our guilt tells us we are accountable to God, and there is a barrier in our relationship to him.

The glorious message of the gospel is that God is the true guilt remover. Though Jesus was absolutely righteous, he was executed as the most guilty man. By dying as though he were a guilty man, Jesus took our guilt and we get his righteousness. Jesus didn’t just take away our guilty feelings; he took away our real guilt so that we are now washed, sanctified (set apart to God), justified (legally righteous before God).

As you journey through this day, remind your conscience that you are washed from your guilt.  You are clean! When you sin, never hide it, blame others or seek to compensate for it with good. Instead, run to the God, who removes our guilt.

Tim Porter

Lead Pastor for the Mission


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