Beyond Guilt

admincccckc Senior Minister Blog

Helping folks move beyond the cloud of guilt is one of the most important works of the church. Guilt is not a bad thing if it helps you examine mistakes and failures. Guilt can be a bridge from sin and sorrow to new life and a new way of living but if we refuse to cross the bridge and instead sit in our guilt we will find that our lives become stagnant, dead even.

David Seamonds, a counselor and therapist, says that there are two major causes of most emotional problems: First, there is the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and, second, there is the failure to practice the same unconditional love, forgiveness and grace in one’s life.

I have to agree with him. We hear the good news of the gospel of grace, we sing about the forgiveness of God, we ask God in our prayers to forgive us but too often this good news of the loving and universal grace of God fails to make its way into our emotions, our lives, our homes, our conversations, our most important relationships.

Grace is based in unconditional love but it is a love that is very difficult for many of us to live within. This inability to live our lives in the light of God’s love—despite our weakness and sin—leaves us living in a cloud of guilt.  When we are unable to move from guilt to grace we are left in a state of fear.  When our lives are dominated by fear it is easy to fall prey to a spirit of angry judgmentalism.

I have heard folks say, “Well, fear is a good thing if it brings them to God.” I try to be gentle in my response but fear does not lead to God. It may lead to addiction and it almost certainly leads to a life lived in sadness. The apostle John wrote to the early church 2,000 years ago, “Perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because God first loved us.” When we finally choose to follow God and live with the love of God, we are choosing to follow the path of grace and new life.

Joseph Campbell says that “Jesus’ death on the cross was not as ransom paid, or as a penalty applied, but an act of atonement, at-one-ment with the human race.” What the church saw in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was One who entered into our sufferings and our joys, our heavens and our hells. By so doing he invites us to a life of grace and hope; a life that is not clouded over by guilt but is enlightened by love.

Grace and peace to you,

– Glen