Letting Go of Guilt

Eliminating Guilt

By Marilyn Pritchard

I just got off the phone with my elderly mother. Once again, she told me she’s been haunted by the memory of something she did over 50 years ago, someone she felt she had wronged that she had never made right. I tried to reassure her that it doesn’t matter anymore, that she had already asked God to forgive her and it was covered by cross. 

Intellectually, she knows that. My mother has a strong faith and knows her sins were forgiven the moment she asked Jesus to be the Lord of her life. But emotionally, she can’t let go of regrets from her past that I’m sure those who were impacted by forgot about long ago.

Does that ever happen to you? Does Satan remind you of things that God forgot about the minute you confessed them to Him? God has promised, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more" (Jer 31:34).

It’s important to recognize the difference between guilt caused by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the false guilt or shame that comes from condemnation. 

Conviction is a prompting by the Holy Spirit that involves recognition of wrongdoing; the need for repentance (making it right with God) and, if possible, the desire to offer reparations (making it right with the person who was wronged). Once we act on that conviction, confessing our sin and seeking forgiveness, that feeling of guilt should lessen.

Condemnation is a deep sense of shame and guilt that tells us we are worthless, that there is no hope for forgiveness. These feelings are in direct contrast to the word of God, which says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. …By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh… . For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom 8:1-3, 6 ESV).

So the next time you feel stuck in shame and condemnation, remember that you are not the one condemned; it is sin that has been condemned through Christ’s death and resurrection. You have been set free by the Spirit, and if you set your mind on the Spirit, you will have life and peace!

Like a parent who corrects a child out of love, God will convict us of our sins so that we can turn around (repent) and walk in the direction He wants us to go. But He does not want us to stay and wallow in our guilt. If you’re feeling stuck and need freedom from condemnation, check out some of these articles that Just Between Us (JBU) has compiled to help you in letting go of guilt.  

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