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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guilt, Grace & God's Love

"Enjoy the warmth of My Presence...I delight in you more than you can imagine...That is why I abhor the use of guilt as a means of motivation among Christians. Guilt-evoking messages can undermine the very foundation of grace. I grieve when I see grace eroding... "The law of My Spirit of Life has freed you from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (262)
As a counselor, I deal often in the areas of guilt, false-guilt, condemnation, forgiveness, grace and true innocence. All of which we could blog endlessly about. In the throes of real life, real relationships and a certain eternity, all of the above can become quite tangled and tricky to navigate. Here's my quick summarizing, yet rather incomplete thoughts...
The opposite of guilt is not necessarily grace, but rather, innocence. When grace preaching implies and fosters a false innocence, we are being deceived and a type of spiritual paralysis sets in, numbing our hearts from spiritual sensitivity and from the Truth that can and WILL set us free!
When I am guilty of falling short of God's directives, the resulting guilt is a healthy, God-given response to my lack of obedience or fallen innocence. I must recognize my guilt so I can receive God's glorious love-gift of grace.
When people come to me, desiring freedom from the messy issues of their lives, I hinder them if I skip over the realities of their own guilt (lack of innocence) before ushering them into God's forgiving grace. I like to say "Forgiveness is GIVEN FOR the mess!" So, confess the mess and move on!
It is true that preaching, not anchored in God's love, can be harsh and condemning, using guilt to manipulate. However, preaching that flows from God's heart of love will "stir us on toward love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:42) because we are called and crafted to live for eternal purposes...purposes far beyond ourselves. His love inspires us to deal honestly with ourselves, graciously with others, and generously with the Church, His Bride. (Eph.5:25-32)
Am I fallen, guilty, condemned? Yes. Am I forgiven, graced and called? Yes!
I am so grateful for the privilege of sitting under healthy preaching that honestly deals with guilt, respectfully handles grace, and totally embraces God's Love!
(If you're going to marry a preacher...marry a good one! It's hard to vote him out, move him out or attend another church!)
Praising God for a Preacher-Husband filled with God's Love & Truth...dmc


  1. Thank you for clearing all that up, I've been blessed to sit under carefully constructed, Biblical teaching my whole life! As I read this morning's devotional, I thought, "But we are guilty!", so thank you for pointing out the reality of and necessity for both. I always want to walk away from preaching feeling challenged, because there is always room to grow!

  2. I praise God for you and Pastor Joe! I have grown tremendously since we came to First Wesleyan. Today's devo brings to mind on thing that Marcus Buckingham said at Women of Faith. We must concentrate on our strengths and own up to our weaknesses. I find when I do this I can find innocence through God's grace and guilt has no power over me.

    Psalm 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and makes my way perfect.

    Owning my weaknesses to find His strength!

  3. Thanks for your love and support, Melissa!
    I like Leslie's word "challenged"...a much healthier way to live our lives...we may be graced but we're still growing! Living things grow...dead things have stopped growing!
    Whoa, that inspires me to be spiritually "challenged" daily!