Sarah a few years back, swung out on to the outer lane to overtake a slow moving van and collided head on with an oncoming truck. Her husband was killed on the spot and her son was paralyzed waist down. Years later, her sense of guilt continues to blame her cruelly over her fatal error of judgment. A feeble and pained voice within her keeps rejoining with the truth – that it was just a momentary mistake, which could have happened to anyone but could she accept that.
A thoughtless, but awful mistake. Each time Sarah opens her front door and feels the emptiness and sense of failure especially each time she glimpses her child on the wheelchair, the painful critical voice returns, killing her with its persistent reminder of her past failure. It has brought her despair poisoned her career and the upbringing of her son, altering her life into a living nightmare.
We can be trapped in our yesterdays by guilt and regrets. Guilt is a negative feeling because of something we have done, or that we think we have done. The guilt is over sins that we committed and mistakes that we made and the regret is for things that we could have and should have done, but we did not for one reason or the other. Guilt in particular is so destructive that it ends up draining life and hope out of individuals. This is one of the enemy’s tool to keep people from living in the abundant life in Jesus.
There are many believers who are constantly driven by guilt. Some were introduced into the faith through the agency of guilt. As a result they have keep wearing fig leaves to cover their shame so that God would keep rewarding them with his blessings. Just as many have embraced various church activities to silence the voice of guilt in their lives, they have become drug addicts who keep taking harmful substance to suppress their feelings of inferiority. The problem being that one is never enough. So the addiction continues.
When people have an innate feeling of not being right with God, they go somewhere to ”make things right with God.” This is a state of self-righteousness that does not give us the opportunity to express the life of God. This has led many believers to experience issues in their health and they seem to find the goodness of God distant from them.
Research at the University of California Los Angeles confirms activity in the neural pain circuits, when a person suffers social rejection. A person suffers pain, when damaged skin cells cause nociceptors (pain nerve cells) to fire. It leads to depression, personality disorder and other related issues.
Religion is not the cure to guilt but a wholesome relationship; this is what Jesus offers us. The most dangerous enemy to the Gospel is sincere religious practices that suggest to people that God accepts them on the basis of their spiritual activities.
The dilemma of all religion are the questions that never gets answered: ”When is it enough?” When am I good enough? Have I fasted enough? Have I prayed enough? Have I read the holy book enough?” When is enough, enough?
If we rely on outward observances, there is always ”one thing you lack,” just as the case of the Pharisee, we continue laden down with guilt and shame. We cant keep wearing the fig leaves of religion and self-righteousness and still expect to manifest His glory and life.
The law amplifies our guilt and shame but grace speaks us His gift of righteousness. This gift should be our clothing, one that radiates with glory and confidence. Paul described the law as “ Now if the ministry that brought death’ in 2 Corinthians 3. It ministered death because there was no perfection in that age. Since they couldn’t be made perfect they had to keep coming back with their best sacrifices.
Thank God in Christ that has been done away with. He has now perfected by his death.
“When he said, “You don’t want sacrifices and offerings,” he was referring to practices according to the old plan. When he added, “I’m here to do it your way,” he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan—God’s way—by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:9-10) The Message
God is not looking our sacrifices to perfect us. He wants us to appropriate the perfection in Jesus our sacrifice. We need to look beyond ourselves and look to him who has become our very life. All our mistakes and sins have been placed under the blood because there’s no way that we could ever pay for it completely.
Stop living in the past and stop putting everything off until tomorrow. Live your dreams. Start now and you are one day closer to being where you want to go. Jesus not only paid for your past, he also paid for your future. You can’t find life in your past. It’s time to move on.
If you stand before God with your “fig leaf” of everything you have done, you will never be free from the guilt and shame of your inadequacies. The only way you can enjoy your relationship and fellowship with him is when you present yourself to Him the way he has made you; Like the son glorious in righteousness.
Have a confident expectation of good in your life because of the fact that the Father now sees you as He sees Jesus.