Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Question Of Guilt

Recently, I've been thinking about the concept of guilt and what relevance it has (if any) in our lives as Christians. We've all felt guilty about something at some point in our lives. Usually it's a good thing, because it lets us know what we've done wrong, and gives us some incentive to think about our actions and not repeat them. Other times, of course, guilt can lead to despair and allow us to think of ourselves as worse off than we are. That type of guilt is self-centered, and can lead us away from Christ instead of closer to Him.

It's finding the balance that is the problem. For example, I would really like to feel guilty every time I sin. Often times, I'm sure I sin without even realizing it (like when saying a sarcastic remark that could hurt a person's feelings, or perhaps entertaining some not-so-wholesome thoughts in the back of my mind, or perhaps some other habitual behavior of mine that I don't even recognize as sinful). The guilt could clue me in to what I have done wrong, and give me a chance to repent more earnestly and strive to live more faithfully in the future.

At the same time, I've had the experience of being overwhelmed with guilt before, and it's not very nice. Perhaps for certain sins a lot of guilt is appropriate (mainly sins that hurt others). At the same time, if that guilt makes people unable or unwilling to talk to God and have confidence in the fact that they are, indeed, forgiven for their sins, then it isn't a good thing. Every Christian should be aware of when and how they sin and work against the sin in their lives. However, if the guilt they feel makes them believe that they are unworthy of God's love or are not, after all, saved, then it is not healthy, and needs to be put in check.

That's really all the thoughts I have on the issue. It's just a random musing going through my head. Feel free to talk and discuss. I should be around. Hope you're all having a good day!

No comments: