Guilt

 

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.

 

-Jessica

Comments

  1. sonja lange says:

    It feels good to let go of that baggage and feel a little less weighed down. I am just getting there too and sometimes I feel guilty for not feeling more guilty, but then I shake it off. Most of us are doing the best we can and if that means that my kids are eating an Eggo waffle for breakfast instead of something organic and healthier, so freaking be it. I am Catholic and it is easy to drown in the guilt of everyday, but I am refusing to go under.

  2. but HOW do you get to this point? I find it’s still a daily struggle… The guilt is just constant and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in it… I want to be done with it because I know that guilt is the antithesis of grace. I just feel so lost as to HOW to get there.

    PS you might like this song…it’s been helping me in this process of letting go of guilt. http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/R-x_xcUfO44/
    Aprille recently posted..What I Did ~ SeptemberMy Profile

  3. Booyah. That just seemed appropriate to say. :-)

    I am getting to that point also – I’m not depressed about it but I am realizing that very little that I do “for the Lord” is actually out of the motive to please God and not man. Argh- tough spot to be in when you realize it but don’t know how to change it yet.
    Aadel recently posted..Christian Music, Pagan Music, and Worship BandsMy Profile

  4. Julie Williams says:

    And thats where righteousness steps in and says’ I have this covered” Thank you Jesus!

  5. The biggest part for me was that whole “didn’t share Jesus with everyone” thing. Because, you know, SO many people become Christians because some random stranger made them feel weird at the drive-thru, or handed them a tract that looked like money!

    Or not, just take a poll next time you’re in church. See how many people that worked out for. How many people are like, “Hey, I was working on my homework and some guy with his shirt tucked in knocked on my door and asked me a bunch of weird questions, then he handed me this killer tract and told me to come to his church! I figured, since I had never met a single Christian person in my entire life, that it sounded totally legit. And I just started showing up! BAM! Now I’m saved. It’s like a lightswitch! One minute, you’re not, the next minute you totally are!”
    Jeremy recently posted..GuiltMy Profile

    • I like you.

    • I watched a film recently(Father of Lights- highly recommend it), and near the beginning they show a group of people out on the beach with scripture on huge signs about how all these groups of sinners are going to hell. They were just sharing the truth of the Word, out of love of course, because love will tell people the truth. Riiiiight.

      The documentary maker went to interview one of the guys, who said he had been out there doing this for 20+ years. He asked how many conversions he’d seen from his efforts. Not one. Not a single conversion in TWENTY years!!! You’d think by that point he’d maybe rethink his approach, but apparently not.
      Anna C recently posted..To the Boy Who Taught Me How to Love.My Profile

  6. Good! Because guess what? Jesus took your guilt and imperfection to the grave with him! He took that weight on his very own shoulders and it killed his fragile human body but he TRIUMPHED over death and guilt and imperfection so that you don’t have to bear that weight. It’s one of the greatest dichotomies of Christianity that we strive daily to live up to our Savior and we fail daily to do so but it doesn’t matter because He already took all the burden of our failure upon himself and he whipped it.

    Yes, this is one of those subjects I get pretty passionate about because I’ve lived under that guilt and self-flagellation too. I hate the idea of anyone else living under the crushing weight of their own humanity when that burden has already been lifted from us by the hands of the Christ.

  7. It was really liberating for me when I realized that one of the main reasons I sucked so much at the whole “witnessing” thing was that God made me an introvert. God MADE me an introvert, on purpose. I don’t think He also intended for me to beat myself up over being horrible at something that someone told me I needed to do, when he didn’t create me to be good at it. I’m good at a lot of things. Speaking to random strangers about the gospel(or anything, really) is not one if them. AND THAT’S OKAY! There are many other ways to share Jesus with people. It was so freeing for me when I decided that I was going to refuse to feel an ounce of guilt for not witnessing to random strangers, and instead focus on sharing Jesus’ love in the ways that He has gifted me to do that.

    We’re not all the same- why should we all be expected to share the gospel in the same way?

    And that’s not even mentioning the fundamental issues I have with a lot of the traditional “witnessing methods”. ;)
    Anna C recently posted..Just one simple nursing session…My Profile

  8. Yes. Amen. I have been led to read so many posts today about letting go of guilt. I think I am getting the message. And it was a great thing being here, reading your words and the comments too. I especially liked the one about how many have been saved at the drive thru with a bible trac. Good stuff.;) Truth.
    Danelle recently posted..The SermonMy Profile

  9. Amen, Sister! Accepting that I am flawed and that that’s okay and God loves me the way I am, screwed up, takes all the pressure off. Now if I could just stay in that place of rest.
    Kate Hall recently posted..Friday LettersMy Profile

    • The problem, I think, is that I used to be in a place of accepting that when God first saved me he accepted me in my flawed position – but in every instance after I should be coming much closer to perfection. Now I’m accepting my imperfectness on all sections of the timeline. :)

  10. Sally Roach says:

    As I was driving down the road, I saw a sign on a business that said, “Jesus loves you”. It made me feel happy to see that, but then I thought about how we sell Jesus to people as so loving and forgiving and we tell them about grace and that it’s free and it really is good news and so wonderful. Then, we get them into churches to tell them how much they suck at being Christians. That really does weigh you down! And the big problem with that is it puts the focus on us and our guilt so we spiral down. The focus is Jesus! Hallelujah!!! He’s done the heavy lifting for us! It truly is Good News!! Woo hooo!!!

  11. I was just journaling the other day about a time when I was on the brink of depression and in a circle that I was comfortable with I had shared my vulnerability.. and a pastor had warned that it could have been sin, and that I could be giving the enemy a foothold because of some sin I was living in. I remember being mortified. I would never confess that sort of depression again in that group because of fear that someone would assume that it was my fault or that I was being a bad Christian. From then on my prayer requests were generic, health related stuff, etc. I would like to think that I’m past that now and that I could once again let myself be vulnerable to a fellowship and to my Lord. I believe it takes time, years in fact, to drop off the chains of guilt and people pleasing. When it does happen though we’re free to worship a God who doesn’t condemn you for how many Big Macs you’ve eaten or me for how many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep in all consuming depression. That’s freedom in Christ for sure.
    Traci recently posted..Advantages of Home EducationMy Profile

  12. The tears are flowin’ y’all. All of these things could be about me…including the parts about being told that my depression was probably some sin issue I hadn’t dealt with like Traci. Thankfully God has been working on me for a while now. This post was just what I needed to hear!

  13. I love this one!!! You are so honest, and trust me, you are not alone!!! :)

Trackbacks

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  3. […] frankly, I refuse to feel guilty. As I’ve said before, I’m done with guilt. It’s a game that has no place in Christianity. So instead of beating myself up and trying to […]

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