How to deal with guilt when it sneaks up on you
Romans 8:1-2 is one particular passage of Scripture that is on my list of favorites because it has brought me so much freedom! It says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death.”
But guess what? I have been living under MAJOR GUILT AND CONDEMNATION and I didn’t even know it.
I heard a life changing sermon preached at church last week that really made me stop and evaluate the voices of guilt and condemnation I have been hearing. So for a few moments, instead of just pushing them away, I stopped to listen and I was pretty surprised by what I heard.
I realized that I have been living under constant condemnation that I can NEVER be good enough. I found hidden fears and anxieties of all sorts:
fear that I am not a kind person…
fear that I don’t love people sincerely…
fear that I don’t serve my church enough…
fear that I am not making a difference in my community…
fear that people don’t like me…
fear that I am not a good wife…
fear that I’m not “qualified” to homeschool my kids…
fear that I am missing the mark raising them to know God…
guilt that my house is never in order…
guilt that my time management skills are MIA…
I seriously couldn’t believe I had been harboring all of these things and allowing them to speak to me
For being a person that tries so hard to walk out the truths of the word, when I realized I was living under such heavy condemnation, I didn’t even know what to do and I certainly didn’t know how to deal with guilt that I never saw coming.
I felt like I was taken by complete surprise!
But luckily, if there is one thing I know is true in this world, its God’s Word, and there is always an answer there. [bctt tweet=”If there is ONE thing true in this world, it’s God’s Word. #BelieveIt”]
How to know if you are living under guilt and condemnation
Sometimes, you don’t need a test, you just know. Some guilt comes out of our own sin and those things are usually obvious to us.
But sometimes guilt comes from things outside of us. Sometimes it can come from something someone else did to you, or from failures, or unrealistic expectations, and a whole host of other things.
It can be so subtle though.
So much so, that it just silently picks away at your soul whispering lies to you until you finally give in and believe them.
To figure out what these lies are, just listen to yourself. What do say about yourself? Is there something you are confessing all of time, like
“I just can’t do it…”
“Nobody listens to me…”
“I don’t understand…”
“I’m never at the right place at the right time…”
“I just can’t catch a break…”
“I don’t fit in anywhere…”
“I’m not good enough…”
Keep a watch for any of those negative things that you are saying, feeling inside, or that other people say to you. Those are the voices of condemnation trying to convince you that you aren’t good enough for this world.
Guilt will usually begin as a little thought that creeps in and it will ultimately try to destroy you.
You start to believe the worst, and then the worst happens, which reaffirms your mis-belief, and it continues on and on in a vicious cycle.
This is a cruel tactic of the enemy trying to get you to be your own worst enemy. If he can convince you that you don’t have anything to offer the world then he can keep you trapped in an ugly cycle of guilt and condemnation that keeps you away from walking in the freedom that Christ bought for you.
How to break free
In the Bible there is a story about a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). She is dragged out in the middle of town and tossed before Jesus to await her punishment: death.
You’ve probably heard part of this passage before, people quote Jesus all of the time in verse 7 when He says, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” If you know the story, then you know what happens… Jesus begins silently writing something in the dirt, and eventually every one leaves without throwing a single stone. While that’s a very important part of the story, the part I really want to focus on here is at the end after all of her accusers have left:
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
“Then neither do I condemn you…” Man, Jesus has SO MUCH COMPASSION for His people!
Believe that you are free
Here it is, the first thing you need to do to break free from your accusers is to believe you are free!! Jump in head first with a big dose of CRAZY FAITH and just believe it! God said it, so you can know that its true; now you have to choose to believe it.
**Remember here, this is a case where this woman was caught in the act of adultry, she really was guilty, BUT JESUS GAVE HER GRACE!!!!
He gave her grace…
He set her free right then and there. Isn’t that amazing?
Isn’t that just like our God to extend mercy when she deserved death?
God does that for all of us too.
And if He did it for her when she really was guilty, don’t you think He would do the same for you?
It’s so simple, don’t miss it.
You can be set free from that guilt right now by just accepting the simple, but true, fact that Jesus does not condemn you so you shouldn’t condemn yourself. Grab the promise in John 8:36 and hold tightly to it, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”
FYI: holding on to your guilt because you think its being humble is dumb. Yeah, I said that. It’s dumb.
And it’s actually not humility that you are acting in, its pride. Humility graciously accepts all that Jesus has to offer with a grateful heart. Pride denies what Jesus has to offer because it thinks it knows better.
Would you really tell God that your sin is bigger than His sacrifice?
Holding on to guilt under the false pretense that “I don’t deserve freedom” is really just puffing up your own pride and allowing the enemy to have a stronger grip on you.
Defeat him right now by believing and accepting what Jesus has to offer.
God is not a man that He should lie, if He says He will set you free, then He will.
Now speak the truth!!!
The enemy will always try to convince you to believe a lie, but God will always give you a way out. [bctt tweet=”The enemy wants you to believe his lies, but God has given you a way out!”]
You are in a great place now that you know how to recognize the lies that have been speaking to you. So now, when you hear that voice of condemnation, you shout, “NO WAY!!!! I have been set free, and whom the Son sets free, is FREE INDEED!!!!”
You have the power and the authority to tell that thought no!
I heard Kenneth Copeland use an illustration one time where he told his audience to count in their head to 20, then after just a few seconds, he told them to say their names out loud. (I of course participated, and I’m glad I did because it drove his point home!)
When you say your name out loud, you temporarily stop counting in your head. You may go back to counting, but that is a deliberate choice. The point he made with this is that our words take precedence over our thoughts. Let that sink in a bit… our words take precedence over our thoughts…
So. when unwelcome thoughts start to creep in, SPEAK!
Speak words of truth
Speak a rebuke
Speak a simple no
Speak whatever you want
but for goodness sake just SAY SOMETHING!!
Get those thoughts out of your head and replace them with truth. Don’t allow the enemy to take advantage of you anymore!
You are free!
Check out these two guides for a few quick Scriptures to rebuke some of these common areas of guilt and condemnation: You can also download and print it out right here!
Have you been living under guilt? Are you ready to break free and live in the freedom Christ bought for you?
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” ~ Hebrews 12:2-3
Blessings and love,
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like How to Find the Peace Your Heart Longs For
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