Learning to Deal with the Burden of Guilt - Joyce Meyer Everyday Answers

Dealing With Guilt

Learning to Leave the Burden of Guilt Behind

- by Joyce Meyer
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Dealing With Guilt

I used to have a massive problem with guilt. It was so horrible how I suffered with it! I would get up in the morning and wish it was time to go back to bed because it was always there…hanging over me…  

It caused me to have condemning thoughts like: You didn’t… You should have… You shouldn’t have… You should know better. You did it again. What do you think you’re doing preaching to other people?

Like I said, it was horrible. But I can honestly say that today, I am completely free from guilt and the condemnation it brings. The truth is, we don’t have to live with the burden of guilt!

That doesn’t mean I don’t do wrong things sometimes. But I have learned the truth about what Jesus did for me, which gives me forgiveness of my sin and keeps me from carrying around the terrible burden of guilt, letting it steal my life day after day.

I’ve also learned that it’s good to have a healthy grief about my mistakes. But instead of just feeling bad about it, I come to God, admit what I did that was wrong, receive His forgiveness and then move on.  

Stop Trying to Pay a Price You Can’t Afford

Guilt is mainly caused by the way we think about God’s expectations of us, our sin (mistakes), and the remedy for our sin. Guilt enters as a thought, which creates a feeling, and then we live by that feeling.  

But here’s some more good news: We don’t have to live by our feelings or make decisions based on them.

If we’re smart, we won’t believe our feelings when we know they don’t line up with what God tells us in His Word. And God’s Word tells us that Jesus has paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins and removed our guilt.

Second Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

Being “in Christ,” or born again, means we can have a personal, intimate relationship with Him (Romans 8:16-17). And because of that relationship, we have whatever Jesus has and the Holy Spirit lives in our spirit.  

So His righteousness is now our righteousness, and we can have His grace and strength to do what’s right (2 Corinthians 5:21; 12:9; Philippians 4:13).  

Your True Identity Is Not “Guilty”

It’s so important for us to see ourselves in Christ and identify with Him as our substitute, who paid the price for the cleansing and forgiveness of our sin. Our identity is no longer “sinner” but “new creation in Christ,” and there’s a difference between our “who” and what we do.  

I like to look at it this way: My children don’t always do things that I like or agree with, but they are always my children. It’s the same way with us and God.

What keeps us from knowing who we are in Christ is thinking more about what we’ve done wrong than what Jesus has done for us. We have to stop thinking about what we’re not and start thinking about the progress we’re making in our relationship with Him.

Get Rid of the Guilt and Move On

The closer you get to God, the more you’ll know what’s right and wrong. And the closer you get to God, the more strength you’ll have to do what’s right.

Please don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel like you’re getting this all at once. It took time for me to really “get it” that Jesus paid the price for the cleansing of my sin and how to receive His forgiveness. That’s why guilt tormented me as long as it did.  

But I promise you that if you’ll keep seeking God, studying His Word, and spending time with God in prayer, you will get completely free from guilt and condemnation.

You may be thinking, But Joyce, I still make mistakes. Yes, we do. And God knows that. He understands our nature and knows we have a lot to learn. But He is so merciful!

Remember that nothing surprises God. He knew what He was getting when He chose to enter into a relationship with you. And the last thing He wants is for you to be separated from Him by guilt and condemnation.  

God loves you so much! He wants you to be free to come to Him when you do something wrong, admit it to Him with a sincere heart, and receive His forgiveness. Because God’s plan for you is guilt-free living!

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