Guilt, that shadow that is quick to follow us, the weight on our hunched shoulders, the secret that haunts us–how do we deal with guilt? If you are like me, you try not to think about it, so you don’t have to deal with it. This is the way of denial and fear; it is too intimidating and condemning to address, so we ignore it. What I have failed to realise is that in doing this, I give my guilt, shame, and fears more power than they deserve.
Realising our sin is tough; it is hard to look that dark filth in the face and admit that it belongs to you or is a part of you. It means realising how quickly we have left our First Love and how fast and how far we have run from Him. Seeing that slime that we have chosen to cover ourselves in, we find it hard to believe that God will accept us, as we are, all slimey. Sometimes we think we deserve to carry around the guilt, to remember who we are capable of becoming, as penance for things we’re ashamed of, and so we drag it around with us.
But to carry guilt around is to insist on carrying around chains that have been unlocked from our wrists. Its to insist on an identity that is defined by our sin, rather than on His grace. We forget that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Ro. 8:1). No exceptions. No extenuating circumstances. This is true. This is what God says. And boy, do I need reminding of it!
He has made us free and clean, completely by His work, by his blood, because of His love.
Our job is not to earn that, but to accept that excessively generous and incredible gift. He did not pay our debt so we could walk around still carrying that debt around with us–He came to release us from that burden, to free us, so that we could stand “dressed in His righteousness alone/ Faultless to stand before the throne” (“In Christ Alone”).
His “love covers a multitude of sins”(1 Pet. 4:8) and Paul writes that “it is for freedom that Christ has set you free” (Gal 5:1). We are fully known, in all our sin and slime, yet fully loved and fully forgiven.
I must trust, I must thank, I must “glory in my Redeemer/Whose priceless blood has ransomed me”(“I will glory in my Redeemer”).
Its hard to dance for joy in chains, we must set them down at the foot of the cross, fling them off at the open, empty tomb, which declared that His was the victory, His was the greatest power, His was the reconciling work that forever frees and reunites us in deep intimacy with God.
We confess, we repent, we are restored to that union with God that Christ paid for, where he gave us his righteousness. We cannot stain his righteousness, because it is not a righteousness that we’ve earned or proved–it is his, given to us freely.
Forgiven and free. Hallelujah.
Monica Godfrey was part of the student team last year and now is an English teacher in the States. For more wisdom from Monica check out her blog.