FREE FROM SHAME AND GUILT.
Shame and guilt are something many people are suffering from. Many people are using defense mechanisms in order to hide their guilt and shame for other people or defending themselves for accusations, sometimes imagined accusations. The Bible says that the devil is the accuser and he is hidden behind a lot of guilt and shame. There are times when guilt and shame are connected with sin, but there is no reason to hold on to that as soon as sin is confessed. This is one of the things I will write about.
We might go back to Genesis, the third chapter and look at Adam and Eve. They were naked, but had no problems with that before they ate of the forbidden fruit. After eating the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they discovered their nakedness. They covered themselves with fig-leaves, but when God called Adam, he hid himself in shame and God understood that he had been eating of the forbidden fruit. Sin entered the world and it started with disobedience. They covered themselves with fig-leaves, but that couldn’t hide nor take away their sin. The sin couldn’t be taken away before Jesus came and we today can wash them away with the blood of Jesus. Shame is caused by the fact that we have sinned or being told that we have sinned. If we believe that we have sinned, we very often feel guilty and shameful.
In some countries it is very important to keep the mask or their self-image. In India they would never say that they didn’t have what you asked for. They would rather lie and say that it comes tomorrow. The sad thing is that tomorrow never comes. It was less shameful to lie than admit that they lacked something. What causes shame and guilt varies from country to country, from person to person and from different environments. Many do not feel any shame before they are exposed.
One might feel shame because of their own wrong doings, but some might feel shame because of their family background or some members of their family. I have met people feeling bad because of the fact that they are Tartars or Gipsy. I am glad that I also have met people being proud of their Gipsy background. Others feel shameful because of a father who is an alcoholic or a mother on drugs. Maybe you feel ashamed because your family is known for being poor or criminal. Shame is connected with your identity then. You might not have found your identity in your Heavenly Father and His family then. When you chose to receive Jesus and become a child of God, you got a new Father Who is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is perfect and His spirit has moved into your spirit. When you carry guilt and shame for what other people have done, you have a wrong identity with these people and a distorted conscience. I would have liked for you to be here with me and I could have prayed for you. I would have shown you who you are in Christ and showed you the character of God. I would have shown you what you have in your perfect spirit and cut off all your wrong guilt and shame for the mistakes and short-comings of others. It would have been done in that name that is above all other names, the name of Jesus Christ. When it comes to the Tartars and Gypsies, we must remember that they are highly loved by God and they are just as valuable as you and me. They are unfortunately stigmatized by other people and groups.
Each and every one of us must take responsibility for our own actions and reactions. It is not my fault that my mother had psychological problems when I was young and it wasn’t too much of her fault either. We should both have gotten help to get rid of our shame and guilt. Children need help in order to avoid carrying the shame and guilt of the adults. Come to Him Who will free you from wrong guilt and shame. He carried everything on the Cross in order for you to be free from these sticky feelings. He wants to heal you and He is saying: Come!
Are guilt and a bad conscience the same? No, I do not believe so. I believe that we are made to have a bad conscience when we sin and act against the Word of God. I do believe that people living in sin over a period of time might become less sensitive in their conscience and harden their heart. If it hadn’t been so, there would have been less criminal.
Guilt is often given to us through other people or directly from the devil. It will often come to people that have no reason for feeling guilty. You can imagine yourself sitting in a Christian meeting. The speaker comes with a word of correction and you feel sure that he talks to you even if you haven’t done anything wrong. There have been times when I have been guilty for things I haven’t done. I am so thankful to the Lord that He has delivered me from those snares. Today I know the difference between real sin and false guilt.
Jesus has taken all our sins on the Cross (Is.4-5), but still I do believe that we should confess our sins both to God and to people. You can read 1.John 1:9 and James 5:16. If we have sinned directly towards a person, I think we should ask that person for forgiveness. What happens when we confess our sins? It says that God forgives us everything and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Do we need to carry a bad conscience then? No, we can receive God’s forgiveness and be free then. It is the devil coming with guilt feelings and he might hinder you in receiving full forgiveness. We are clean and just, worthy a heaven waiting for us. All because of Jesus. If the devil comes with thoughts like: Do you remember what you did ten years ago or can you say that you are a good Christian? You must stand up proclaiming the truth. You must command the accuser and the liar to leave in the name of Jesus and tell the liar that you are made clean by the blood of Jesus. This is the good news. Jesus has taken my sin and paid the punishment for me. Just think if you were in court and the judge comes and says that you can go free because somebody else has paid the punishment for you. I would be very, very happy. Are we so thankful to Jesus?
I often see guilt complexes as tall houses because they might have been built over many years. I ask The Holy Spirit to tear them down as a bulldozer. I seriously believe that is possible. The newly freed person needs help to think new thoughts and to withstand the devil.
Jesus has taken our sins, guilt and shame. We must learn to distinguish between what is what and who is the source. If you know the voice of the Shepard, you know when He points at sin in your life. It is always done in love and it has to be in accordance with The Word. It shouldn’t be difficult to confess and we can ask The Holy Spirit to help us withstand the temptations. We might not always be obedient, unfortunately.
I recommend us Christians to identify with God’s nature in us and not with our short comings. That will be like a shield against the accusations from the devil. He wants to make us introvert, negative and depressed. Do not receive that because God sees us through His Son and we can rejoice in Him. Shame and guilt are like a dark coat hindering you in being free and bold both towards God and human beings. You can throw away and burn these coats. You are the one making a choice to get rid of them and the Lord is more than willing to help you with that. He wants you to shine in His righteousness.
RISE AND SHINE!