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Guilt and God’s Grace

October 29, 2020

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

Guilt is something we all deal with. But is guilt biblical? We can understand that sin and brokenness can lead us to wrongdoing. We, of course, should repent when we disobey God’s commandments or break civil laws. Or even when we sin in our hearts or minds with greed, envy, or lust.

However, there are other kinds of guilt that are not biblical. There is legalism. In Colossians 2:16 we read of legalism regarding the food the early Christians ate. Paul rejects this legalism—it has no power for salvation or transformation but instead enslaves people to false guilt when they fail to keep the rules.

Another kind of guilt we place upon ourselves is perfectionism. We don’t live up to what we think we should do or be, or what others expect of us. This is often true in dysfunctional family dynamics. Then we feel like failures and can’t forgive ourselves. However, in Christ we are free…from the demands of others, and even ourselves—free to live in His grace!

When guilt comes, evaluate its source. Is it from God, or others, or from ourselves? Jesus says we must love others AS we love ourselves. A healthy self-love is not egotism or narcissism but loving ourselves as God first loved us.

We are always broken and in need of grace. But we need to be sure we look at those other kinds of guilt as well, the guilt we impose on ourselves or allow others to impose on us. We can embrace the love of Christ and the healthy self-love we need to have! We should always repent of sin, but check your “guilt dashboard” to make sure you are not living with false guilt!

Pastor Jeff Ruby

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