The Rev Cartoon Image3D Spirituality Graphic


It is not what you were thinking

It is how you are thinking.

Dealing with a Guilt Complex


ASK THE REV: Guilt Complex. I have grown up in my church with a great sense of guilt.  The pastor teaches from Romans 3:23 "We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God". This means when we are before God we are always guilty of sin. My guilty conscience controls my life and causes me to be depressed all of the time. Is there any thing I can do with this feeling of guilt as a Christian?

First of all we need a definition of sin.  Sin in the Old Testament is any immoral act. John the Baptist calls Jesus "the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the world."  Sin in the New Testament is separation from God or "missing the mark." "Sins" are the symptoms of this separation.  When we are experiencing the Love of God we will do the loving thing as opposed to trying to do the loving thing to experience His Love. When Jesus became "Sin who knew no sin" 2 Corinthians 5:21, He did not commit an immoral act. He became separated from God. He became like us (sin), separated from God, and we became like Him, loved by God even when we are in Sin (separated from God).

Legalism is how we think out of the Presence. We try to do God's will to get into His Love.

Grace is how we think in the Presence. It is to be in God's love to do His will.

When we have the feelings of a guilty conscious, it is a sign we are out of His Presence. Under the Law, when we are out of the Presence of the Love of God, we confess our sins to be forgiven and to be loved by God. In grace, we get in the Presence of the Love of God to be forgiven. We confess our sins because we are forgiven. We were all forgiven two thousand years ago from the Cross. We can confess our sins standing before a harsh Judge to receive punishment or we can experience the Love of our best friend who would give His life for us to confess our sins.

It is not what you were thinking

It is how you are thinking.

Discover the difference between what and how you think. What you think about what you did is not the issue. How you think is the issue. What difference does it make if you are

confessing your sins to receive God's forgiveness


confessing your sins when you are in the forgiveness of God's Son, Jesus?

The choice is always yours.


Comments (1)

  1. Char:
    Jun 14, 2016 at 11:29 PM

    Feelings of guilt grip many who "say" they've been forgiven, while not really believing it. I've struggled with it for years until God recently showed me that I needed to "accept" forgiveness. We say God forgives and forgets our sins. But how can He possibly forget if we keep rehashing guilt over everything we've done or haven't done?

    People have a tendency to hold onto guilt to where forgiveness becomes ineffective in their lives. We get stifled in the present because we're reliving something that cannot be undone whether real or imagined. And then we feel guilty tomorrow for having done nothing worthwhile today because we we were too busy thinking about yesterday. Guilt perpetuates itself and ultimately prevents us from doing those things that we may already be feeling guilty about. And that's exactly what condemnation does.

    God is not the one who condemns. He wants us to grow and learn from the past, not relive it. Satan wants to hinder growth and accuses us night and day by whispering guilt to us that we aren't doing the right thing. Or we've messed up so bad that Christ took back our forgiveness. If he keeps us wallowing in it, we become what Paul warned us about.

    "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!".

    We need to learn to chew on our food and not on our guilt.


To reduce spam, please type the two words seen below including punctuation. Leave a space between the words. If you can't read the words, you can get new ones by clicking on the sample refresh button button.

Allowed tags: <b><i><br>Add a new comment:

Copyright 2008-2011 Paul Edwards