Why is it so hard to let go of our guilt, shame, and regret? Jesus says He has forgiven us, so why can’t we?
Hi I’m Christin Ditchfield.
You know, guilt is actually supposed to be a gift. Good guilt, that is. True guilt. Healthy guilt.
It lets us know when we’ve done wrong. It points us to the truth. It keeps us humble, instead of haughty and proud, like the self-righteous Pharisees.
It reminds us constantly that we are sinners in need of a Savior – and that we have one. We have a strong and mighty Savior whose grace is greater than our sin. It keeps us overflowing with love and gratitude to Him (or at least it can – it should).
And if we let it, guilt will teach us – it will help us learn from our mistakes. It serves as a deterrent. If we can’t be “good for goodness’ sake,” than we can at least be good to avoid the pain – the discomfort of a guilty conscience, along with the other consequences.
As Brennan Manning writes, “Healthy guilt is one which acknowledges the wrong done and feels remorse, but then is free to embrace the forgiveness that has been offered. Healthy guilt focuses on the realization that all has been forgiven, the wrong has been redeemed.”
As 2 Corinthians 7:10 explains, “For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].” (AMP)
Worldly grief. Hopeless sorrow. Unhealthy guilt – or healthy guilt that we respond to in unhealthy ways.
Instead we need to confess our sin, repent of it, and let it go – leaving it with Jesus where it belongs!