Recently a very close friend of mine experienced some severe pain that necessitated a trip to the emergency room, which led to a mammogram, which led to a diagnosis of a cancerous tumor. Although the initial pain and discovery process was incredibly difficult it was necessary. The pain was a clear signal that something was wrong and needed attention. But now that the problem has been exposed she can focus on the remedy that will restore her health.
Like pain, guilt is a gift from God signaling something harmful has invaded our lives. Although it is true that sometimes we suffer from false guilt this must be distinguished from true sanctifying guilt that can also be described as conviction of sin. A conviction that results from violating the will of God imprinted upon our hearts.
Some would say “guilt” should never be part of the Christian life but I strongly disagree! The scriptures do say however that there is no reason for “guilt” to plague our lives. When physical pain strikes we seek out the assistance of a physician for a diagnosis and cure. Sanctifying guilt in a similar way is meant to lead us to the arms of Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. Pain is good when it leads to healing!
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9
Forgiveness in Christ is complete but our sanctification is not! Remember Christ lives to make us FREE. He longs to bring the adjustment necessary in our lives to free us from the harmful effects of sinful behavior and choices.
When the pain of guilt strikes our best response is to flee into His non-condemning presence without excuses, seeking exposure. Excuses only mask the problem they don’t bring a cure. The Great Physician knows exactly what we need and is ready, willing and able to apply His life transforming remedy!
Father, when the pain of guilt strikes help me to see it as a built-in signal reminding me to call upon You. Thank you for the freedom that is mine through Jesus Christ the Liberator! Amen!