I’m at a curious, free place in my life.
You see, I’m done with guilt.
Seriously – done. A couple of years ago I was drowning in it. The evangelical weight of life felt unbearable. Un.Bear.A.Ble. I would go though a drive-thru and feel like the worst Christian on the planet. Or, more accurately, like I wasn’t a Christian at all.
Because everyone knows that a “good” Christian wouldn’t waste money on fast food (which I rarely did) and a “good” Christian wouldn’t eat something unhealthy (also, a “good” Christian wouldn’t be overweight like I was) and most importantly, a “good” Christian wouldn’t be too chicken to share Jesus with the girl at the drive-thru window. A “good” Christian would ask her if she’s accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior or, at the very least, give her a gospel tract.
And, frankly, I just wasn’t a good Christian – not by these standards.
The oppression of my guilt became so bad that I began to regret the gift of salvation – to become bitter towards it. It didn’t feel like freedom at all, it felt like chains. I actually envied my “unsaved” friends who could go through a freaking drive-thru without all of the miserable self-flagellation.
I felt like I’d been dealt a bait and switch – I thought I was getting a life where my sins were absolved, where they’d been washed away – so why the hell did it feel like they were rubber and I was glue and no matter how hard I threw them they just bounced back?
I spiraled down into a pretty deep depression that I didn’t have the guts to share with anybody. I nearly lost my faith altogether. In hindsight I realize this mentality was, partly, because of the spiritually abusive environment of my church.
Thankfully, although it seemed painful at the time, we found ourselves leaving that church rather unexpectedly and I’ve been slowly recovering ever since. I very much resonate with the words of Paul:
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. – 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
I care very little if I am judged by you. You’re welcome.
My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.
I’m finished with guilt, but that doesn’t make me not guilty. I’m just finally realizing, internalizing, that I’m not perfect and I’m never going to be perfect. That’s what this being human gig is all about. And it’s not the end of the world every. single. day. when I have to come face to face with bits of my imperfection.
I am growing. Maturing. Being perfected.
But I’m done with guilt.