“Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and He knows everything. 1 John 3:20 NLT
I remember a friend once said to me, “You feel guilty about everything.” Until then, I never realized how often I felt guilty. No matter what I did, I used to feel guilty about it. Years later, I realize that feeling guilty was my way of punishing myself for my action. Unfortunately, this punishment never led to a change of behaviour, it only left me feeling even worse about myself.
Do you suffer from always feeling guilty? Maybe you feel guilty that you ate more than you wanted; you missed your workout again; you missed your prayer time; or, you did not do enough, give enough, try harder, or love more. Our feelings can plague us with so much guilt that often we go to bed every night feeling condemned and wake up the next morning feeling the same way.
Realize that just because you feel a certain way does not mean it’s true. We have to learn to separate our feelings from facts. There is very little place for guilt in the life of a believer. Feeling guilty is very destructive to your mind and really is nothing more than a subtle form of self-abuse or self-punishment. It makes us feel bad about our ourselves or our actions, but it rarely inspires us to change our behaviour or take action, so it really serves no purpose. In fact, it actually will hinder your progress instead of help it.
Remember this . . . Satan condemns; The Holy Spirit convicts. Feeling guilty can sometimes feel like a noble thing to do to motivate us to action, but notice the root of guilt–it is not from God, therefore, should be dismissed.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
What we want to feel is conviction. When the Holy Spirit corrects or convicts us, He will show us what we did wrong and show us how to correct it. He won’t keep reminding you of your mistakes day-in and day-out, and have you continually feeling bad about what you did. He will expect you to move on once you have repented and taken responsibility for your actions.
In the scripture above, John offers an escape from this torture chamber of our minds. He reminds us to set our hearts on God’s love when we feel guilt-ridden. We free our minds from feelings of guilt by realizing that our feelings aren’t facts, therefore, are not great decision-makers. We free our minds by recognizing God’s voice of correction and conviction over the enemy’s voice of guilt and condemnation. God’s voice will never make us feel guilty, no matter what we’ve done. His voice is one of assurance and comfort.
So whether you ate more than you wanted; you yelled harshly at your child; you overspent in your budget; or you missed yet another workout, refuse to be plagued by feelings of guilt and condemnation. Spend time with God, repent of your actions, and move on. There is no benefit to wallowing in guilt.
Choose to follow God’s will for your life and refuse to let your guilty feelings dictate how you should or should not respond. Let the Word of God dictate your decisions, then set your mind to be a blessing to make right choices that honor God.
Dear Lord, Thank you that You are so much greater than my feelings!! I’ve been dragged around by them into all kinds of situations that have left me full of shame and guilt. In many ways, God, I have made my feelings my lord and let them rule over me in the place that You belong as my only authority. I’ve done what I hate so many times because of my feelings–usually trying to avoid the ones that feel awful, but sometimes just to enjoy the ones that feel great. Please forgive me, Lord!
Today, I am trusting in Your unconditional love and in the knowledge that You are so much greater than my feelings! Help me please to trust in You when I start to feel tempted to let my feelings be my boss. Reassure me in my hour (or split second!) of need that Your ways are so much greater than mine, and that includes my feelings. Help me to hold in tension the unpleasant feelings and Your unconditional love.
Give me the patience to pause before acting on them, allowing them to just be. My desire is to grow so close to You and to know You so intimately and closely, sweet Lord! Instead of stuffing down and burying them, Lord, I will trust You with my feelings and experience the freedom, peace, and joy that Your compassion brings! You are truly awesome, God! In Jesus’ name. Amen! ~ Geri Parisella
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