"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, in spite of 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!
My daughter-in-love, Leslie, says she likes to always be spiritually "challenged" to grow. I agree. It's 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!
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!
Challenged with God's Love & Truth...dmc