The Strange Thing about Guilt

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The apple truly doesn’t fall far from the tree. Adam and Eve made a simple choice to follow their senses and desires, rather than God’s instructions. And all hell broke loose!

The strange thing about their guilt is that it caused them to run from God rather than to Him. Now, generations later, we’re making the same mistake over and over. First, we’re enticed by a mere thought. But then we decide to entertain the thought.

Isn’t that strange? Why do we entertain the thought of sin, rather than resist it? Perhaps it’s because sin invariably appeals to our senses. It looks good, smells good, feels good, sounds good or tastes good. That’s why sin is fun—for a while. And that’s also evidence that the proverbial apple truly doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The degree or nature of the sins we commit will depend upon the boundaries we’ve decided we will not cross. For example, I would never entertain the thought of murder or of being unfaithful to my husband.

But I have entertained the thought of disliking someone. And I’ve killed a lot of peaceful moments with a snide or hurtful remark. Yes, I’ve been untrue to my husband. Moe than once, I’ve hidden a purchase until I could decide how to tell him I bought it.

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Stealing? Of course not! But I have entertained the thought of keeping something I’ve found rather than looking for the owner. And I’m sure there are times I’ve neglected to correct a mistake that happened to work to my advantage.

Have you ever stolen from God? I have. I find it easy to waste two of His most precious gifts. Time and the resources He’s given me to fulfill His purpose in me. The sad thing is I’ve done these things without a smidgen of guilt. That is, until afterward.

There’s another strange thing about guilt. It doesn’t set in until after we’ve given in to our fleshly and selfish desires. Sadly, the enticement of sin doesn’t come with a warning. Instead, it causes a form of amnesia. Otherwise, we would remember the remorse and regret we experienced the last time we committed the exact same sin.

Why doesn’t God allow us to feel the heaviness before we’ve entertained the thoughts that enticed us? Thoughts like: But I really want it; what harm could it do? I’ll make up for it tomorrow. How could it be so wrong if it feels so right?

Perhaps it’s because He wants us to learn to hate sin as much as He does. Let’s face it. When we choose to do anything that interrupts our fellowship with God, it breaks His heart. The question is: Does it break ours? Unfortunately, sin doesn’t break us until it hurts us.

The enemy uses our fleshly desires to tempt us. The Bible teaches us that “temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.” James 1:14 NLT

God uses our guilt to bring us back to Him. If anyone in the Bible had reason to struggle with guilt, it was David. Listen to his anguish over his sin and how God brought Him back.

“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” Psalm 32:5 NLT

It doesn’t matter how good it looks, smells, feels, sounds or tastes. Wouldn’t it be great if we would just say “no” by faith, before we give in to the temptation? Then there would be no reason for guilt. And God could spend less time cleaning up our messes and more time developing our assets.

God didn’t give up on Adam and Eve or David. Aren’t you glad He doesn’t give up on us? My prayer is that you and I will develop a better memory as to what happens when we’ve made bad choices in the past. And perhaps we could expand our boundaries on what we will not do concerning the things that are important to God.

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What do you think about all this? Am I alone in the struggle with sin and guilt? What has helped you to improve your memory and to make better choices?

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Comments
7 Responses to “The Strange Thing about Guilt”
  1. Bruce Salley says:

    ONE THING I KNOW IS THAT YOU ARE HUMON! Is it a woman thing to do the kinds of things you confessed? I find myself offering prayers so many times a day for things like that and then some!!

    Thanks for your blog!!!! Harriett

  2. Millie Welsh says:

    Mom – thought you’d love these 2 quotes I’ve hung on to because they are so good!

    “The obedience that pleases God is obedience that flows from faith—faith in what God has already done, and trust for what he will do in the future. And even though we need to obey even if we don’t feel like it, long-term, sustained, heart-felt, gospel motivated obedience can only come from faith and grace; not fear and guilt. Behavioral compliance without heart change, which only the gospel can do, will be shallow and short lived.” (Tullian Tchividjian)

    “So I learned that Christians need to hear the gospel all of their lives because it is the gospel that continues to remind us that our day-to-day acceptance with the Father is not based on what we do for God but upon what Christ did for us in his sinless life and sin-bearing death. I began to see that we stand before God today as righteous as we ever will be, even in heaven, because he has clothed us with the righteousness of his Son. Therefore, I don’t have to perform to be accepted by God. Now I am free to obey him and serve him because I am already accepted in Christ (see Rom. 8:1). My driving motivation now is not guilt but gratitude.” (Jerry Bridges)

  3. Kathy Biedenharn says:

    Liz. Sometimes I get behind on reading your blog so just like an undisciplined student, I cram several in, at one time. Even in that approach, your (HIS) words always open my heart and mind and as a result, I am blessed

    Kathy B

    • Hello sweet friend. I just saw this so I’m replying late but I appreciate so much your reading my blog any time you can and I’m so pleased that somehow God uses it to bless you.

  4. Ann coogler says:

    It really struck home with me about stealing from God when we dont use our gifts. I pray i will launch out more with what I have. Enjoy your blog.

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