If you’ve watched any crime show, there’s that moment when the guilty person comes face to face with their crime. They’re caught in a lie and it can’t be hidden any longer.
Sometimes we do the same. We look in the mirror and silently embrace the words, “YOU’RE GUILTY.”
Perhaps there’s a reason behind the feeling. Sadly for some, it’s not true at all. We just live like it is.
There’s a small tattoo on my wrist. It’s Hebrew script for grace. It’s a reminder that I’m bought with a price — redeemed! — and His mercy covers me.
Years ago I lived my faith as if I fell short . . . all the time. Rather than live with joy, I continually battled guilt — not enough; never going to measure up; not like her; did I screw this up?
Our faith was never intended to be tangled in guilt.
So what can we do?
Exchange guilt for mercy
If I’ve said something I shouldn’t or I’ve done something I wish I hadn’t, there’s some place to go.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT)
Exchange guilt for conviction
I can be honest about about where things went wrong so I can do it differently next time.
I can make those wrongs right to the best of my ability. I can say I’m sorry and sincerely mean it.
Then I move down a new path so that I can run after all that my Savior has for me.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11 (NLT)
Our biggest accuser can be the enemy, but it can also be ourselves as we hang on to guilt and allow it to become our identity. Conviction rather than guilt allows us to deal with it and with those we hurt, and then continue to grow.
Exchange lies for the truth
This is the hard part. Sometimes we live in guilt and we’ve not done anything wrong.
I’m blown away by how many women I meet who carry shame, and when they share those feelings you discover that it’s linked to words spoken over them 20 years earlier.
To live guilt-free means that we shut down the whispers of the enemy with truth. We sort through what is unsound and unbiblical to build a foundation on the Word of God — rather than the words of people.
They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. Matthew 23:4 (NLT)
Exchanging a lie for the truth takes place as we ask God to show us the source of those misplaced feelings. Usually it’s tied to hurting people, or those who were stuck in guilt and pulled you in with them.
Why live guilt free? Because then we truly become free.
We are free to work through our mistakes and grow. We’re free to admit when we’re wrong and humbly ask for forgiveness. We’re free to accept His words of love and healing power. We’re free to offer a guilt-free, joy-wrapped woman to those closest to us.
We’re free to look in the mirror and see a reflection of His grace.