Untied Laces: Fighting Guilt

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions’…and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psa. 32:5)

CC NC-ND John 'K' Flickr
CC NC-ND John ‘K’ Flickr

Guilt is one of Satan’s engineered marvels to keep people away from God. All of us are sometimes tempted with not accepting God’s grace due to some bad habit or unmentionable sin that distances us from him. Yet imagine the satisfaction Satan gets when the offense is one with which we struggle. Like a fly in a spider’s web, we gradually tire from the strain to be free and, guilt-ridden, our adversary watches with delight.

Repeated sin is a burden to the soul. All of us know the hardship of falling to temptation, lamenting in guilt, and praying that we’ll never do it again, only to realize that the issue is a real scab in the heart that we simply cannot let heal. It is spiritually crushing to realize that sin controls a part of one’s life; and how to remedy it is sometimes equally troublesome to determine. That despair is real and it often becomes malignant.

Don’t Love Me as I Am

Hear these words carefully: True penitence before God is acceptable, but self-deprecation plays into the hands of Satan and entangles us further in his weave. Very often we make ourselves both the offender and the enforcer of God’s commands. It is the human tendency for self-flagellation, to hatefully criticize ourselves. Surprisingly, it arises from an insidiously proud heart that exploits the very character of God.

We berate and loathe ourselves. We scale the heights of fury and plunge the depths of remorse. Ultimately, we shake our fists at God and ask, “How can you love me like this, in all my wretchedness?” I’ve done it. We prefer his judgment instead of his mercy, which interrupts our scorning. And in our pitiful despair we try, with one last stab, for control. But when our emotions finally settle, we sense that the God who is ever drawn to us yet beckons.

Forever Loved by God

What we cannot accept in our guilty minds is a spiritual reality regardless of our embargoes. It is this: Sin can never push us outside of God’s grace. We are the ones who eliminate God’s mercy as the sufficient remedy for our weaknesses. Yet the Father wants us to see that we cannot lose his love. What matters is not how gross our sin but how great the love that heals and restores—if we would only go for help.

God wants to teach us to tie the laces that keep us falling. This means that in times of repeated sin, we trip and stumble our way to God rather than away from him. He is who we need. Our resolution must be that if a sin should be one that we cannot shake, we must drag it to the place where the mercy to help can make us free.

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