Wednesday, September 20, 2006


"I said a dirty word" quips Eye-gore in Young Frankenstein as he tries to read his master's charade-motion. The dirty word here is guilt. If you were raised with it, you may be a screwed-up puppy. Welcome to the world of the dysfunctional.
In fact, when you see this word you may think of a certain sin (real or imagined) you commit (masturbation, looking on a woman with lust, hurting someone with a tongue-lashing). The feeling of guilt may linger in your mind and destroy you from the inside-out. This is our flesh and the devil's ploy to undo you in ways that no one knows.
Often I hear of "Jewish guilt" or "Catholic guilt" that children are submitted to as a form of control employed by their parents. 99 times out of a hundred, it is the mother who employs this tactic. A recent study found that 13% of panic attack sufferers were young Jewish men. This may be linked to the cultural use of guilt. There is no doubt that guilt undermines the confidence of a person who is caught up in it. It is a form of bondage which no man can alleviate himself from.
A recent televised interview of Michael Brown (fomerly of FEMA) by a Hurricane Katrina survivor was instructive. At one point in the interview, the survivor tells Mr. Brown, "I forgive you" (it is believed that Brown did not act quickly enough by the survivors of this tragedy). Brown hears the words, is brought to tears and says, "thank you". The weight of this tragedy and the burden of guilt was lifted off this humbled man.
Christians also need to hear that they are forgiven. Whether we have real or imagined sin, guilt is the work of the devil and our flesh. It is the judgment associated with an act that is not quenched by "positive thinking" or ignoring it. In fact, ignoring guilt leads to a hardness of heart and emboldens one in their pursuit of sin.
The work of the Holy Spirit must be differentiated from guilt. He does not bring guilt, but conviction. It is a little like being caught in a lie, and a person says out loud, "that's a lie". You are speechless, and have to admit it. But, God calls this admission repentance, and he brings healing with it.
Guilt, and the subsequent burden can only be lifted by an outside source. This outside source is Jesus. Yes, he has forgiven your sin. He also forgives you for judging yourself. "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin ... (Ro. 8:1-3a). You are forgiven in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. God bless and keep you!


Post a Comment

<< Home