Guilty as Sin
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. ~ Romans 8.1
Doesn’t that give you hope? Many get all caught up in the ‘no condemnation’ thing and that’s good, but that’s not what floats my boat. For me, it’s the now. Right here, today, in the midst of my mess. We’re as guilt free as we’re ever gonna get. Why won’t we walk in it? Do we really take His Word at face value, and just step out on faith? Sigmund Freud believed guilt was the result of what he called “social restraint”, going against the social norm. My pastor says that Christianity is a counter-culture, not a sub-culture. Looking at the behaviour of Jesus I’d have to agree. Talk about a social misfit! He stirred up trouble wherever He went!
Christian writers Bruce Narramore and Bill Counts have a very different take on this than Freud. They belive there’s a true guilt – which is an object fact – but also a false guilt – a subjective psychological feeling of pain and rejection. Guilt is destructive; we see this in the tragic stories making headline news. Robert S. McGee, in his book The Search for Significance, maintains that, “it causes a loss of self-respect… causes the human spirit to wither… eats away at our personal significance…” Sound familiar? It’s a strong motivator, yes, but I’ve never seen any good come of it long-term. Guilt never encourages, inspires, builds up, which is what God’s kids are supposed to do. Where’s the disconnect? As McGee quite rightly points out, conviction deals with behaviour – not status before a holy, just God. His motivation is love, protection, and correction, not humiliation. Is ours? I call it fickle feelings. We react, rather than act. Romans 7.6 says that we now live in newness of Spirit and not by the letter of the Law. Where there’s no law there’s no sin, because there’s no standard. But we’re called to a higher standard, that of Christ Himself, Romans 8.2, which produces in us the need for grace. When we rely on the law we’re assured of failure, because we’ll never measure up. Performance will never produce self-worth. Don’t know about you, but I need grace. Grace, grace, and more grace. How I love my name.
I won’t be the one to cast the first stone. Will you?
Kari, the guilt-free
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