No Guilt, No Guilt, Absolutely NO GUILT! - November 1, 1994
Picture this: It's July in Durham, you've been sweating all day, back drenched, hair moist from the heat. Hey, how's about an ice cream? Good idea!
So you stroll on over to the dairy bar and you order a coffee ice cream, your friend with you orders a mint chocolate chip. He pays for you and himself, but here's the thing, you didn't know that he paid for you.
Can you imagine? He slipped three bucks down for you and him; why? Who knows? Perhaps solely out of the goodness of his heart. The point is, that you end up standing there trying to pay the cashier when you don't know that you don't have to pay. Your payment has already been paid. Case closed.
I was eating lunch with a woman the other day when she told me that what she doesn't like about Christianity is all the guilt. "I grew up feeling guilty about everything," she told me. "That's why I don't like Christianity," she said with a disgusted grin. "Guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt, yuck."
What I would like to tell her, and you, is that I agree with her: guilt, yuck.
Isn't it funny how sometimes our ice cream is paid for and we don't even know it?
You see, the only reason anyone should ever feel guilty is when they have done something wrong and are paying for it by feeling bad, or feeling as if they had done something wrong, or in other words: feeling guilty.
Pretend you're standing at a party and a guy in front of you drops his napkin. You kneel down and pick it up and hand it back to him. He takes it, scoffs at you and walks away without even saying thank you. Pretty rude, huh? Yes, it is pretty rude, and so are we. God provides the light that we see with, the food we eat, the ability to even function, and do we thank him? No, we scoff at him by refusing to believe that he is who he says he is. He says that we must receive Christ and we say, "oh, God's not concerned if I do this or that." Instead of seeing God as our Father, we see him as a forgetful grandpa, not caring about our deeds. We spend time and energy creating for ourselves a salad-bar Jesus, keeping the parts we like and throwing out the parts that don't make us feel cozy.
I'm guilty too, but the day my life changed was the day I said "Jesus, I believe in you as you REALLY are, and not how I invent you to be. "God is love," we say, but we refuse to admit that "God is holy and just." We pick and chose, and in doing so, are making a mockery of God.
This is why God says that "once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior" (Colossians 1:21). The full context is essential here. This is written to believers in Christ, telling them that before they were 'reconciled' to God through Christ, they were "alienated from God and were enemies." Oh, and for the record, I looked it up in the original Greek, and "alienated from God and were enemies" translates to: "alienated from God and were enemies." I'm glad we can get that straight.
You see, there is forgiveness through Christ and with that forgiveness comes the removal of guilt. If you are a Christian, then you have lost the right to feel guilty when Jesus Christ, who is God, took all the sin of the world, and all the pain, and yes folks, here it comes, all the guilt, put it on himself on the cross and said "IT IS FINISHED!" (John 19:30). Putting it simply, if you really are a Christian, which means you trust Christ to be who he says he is, and not an invention of your emotions, then you not only shouldn't feel guilty, but you don't have the right to feel guilty! It's all gone, you're forgiven, your ice cream is paid for!
It hurts me to see people living defeated by guilt. Sin does exist, despite whether we like it or not. And instead of trying to explain it away, we can deal with sin the way God designed it to be handled, and that is through the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Because of that, if we believe, trust and receive Christ, every sin, every every every sin was taken away and the guilt with it. If you feel guilty, then you have not understood Christianity and I invite you to look at it again. I invite you to receive the only Savior who can take away the sin of the world (John 4:42). Don't feel guilty. There is no reason. Admit that you've done wrong things and that you're sick and tired of pretending them away. Admit that you're not perfect. Admit that you have hurt people and are capable of doing worse. I invite you to finally be rid of guilt by receiving the truth. Don't be guilty, be forgiven. God's made a move: he sent Jesus to die so that some would believe and be saved. Now it's your move: guilt and shame, or Christ and life.