After lunch that day, Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn't you, Johnny?" And she whispered to him, "Remember the duck!" So Johnny did the dishes.
Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing., Grandma said, "I'm sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper." Sally smiled and said, "That's all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it." Again she whispered, "Remember the duck." Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing. After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's, finally he couldn't stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he'd killed the duck. "I know, Johnny," she said, giving him a hug. "I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you." (Steven Cole).
A guilty mind is haunting, consuming, frustrating. Who has not lived with guilt among us? False guilt is a different topic, I’m talking about guilt from sin, a cover-up, real actions or inactions that pricks your conscience. I understand there are those who do wrong and appear to have no guilt or shame. I don’t know what to do about that. The odds are, the fact that you are here at all at seeds of Hope, tells me none of you are those people who never feel guilt. Guilt is good when warranted. The conscience of the soul. Like the red warning light on the car, “service engine soon” you could pretend like its not there, and I do that for a time, hoping it goes away, but it is good. Guilt is good if it leads to forgiveness, repentance and transformation. I like Psalm. 40:12
Commonly we justify ourselves, excuse ourselves, try to ignore the warning light, but I believe the Lord uses guilt to change us and bring ourselves closer to him.
A true story from my college days: My first year of college I was in my dorm room on the eleventh floor. One floor was above me: student rooms, couches, lounging rooms for the residents, and vending machines. I was in my room, when suddenly news spread like wildfire, the vending machines are broken, grab a container and go get stuff. So I did. I found a lunch size bag and ran up the single flight of stairs. 15 guys were already in line. It’s amazing how many candy bars and peanuts can fit in a vending machine. What was I thinking standing in that line? I watched as each guy hit the buttons, one by one, and without putting in any money, the items were dispensed. Bags full of goodies were taken from the machine as one by one the guys took turns filling up containers. Then it was my turn, and I started hitting buttons, out dispensed candy bars and peanuts, and I already felt guilty not putting in any money, secretly I was hoping the machine would reset itself and stop giving away free goodies. So I took enough items to look like I was fitting in, took my bag to my room, and hid it. To this day I do not know if I ate any of those candy bars. Guilt. Shame. Did I really want/need 15 candy bars?
Paul says, “Why do I do that which I don’t want to do?” Commonly we justify ourselves, excuse ourselves, try to ignore the warning light, but I believe the Lord uses guilt to change us and bring ourselves closer to him.
A guilty mind. Take it as a warning light do something. The book of John tells talking about Jesus, “And He [Jesus], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; John 16:8. Guilt is the first step in God redeeming you, changing you. A guilty mind is good, if it leads to wholeness. The red warning light on the dashboard is good, if it leads you to take your car in for servicing and it stops a major repair.
When we sin we don’t like guilt, we try to get rid of it, so there are many strategies before we finally go to God. Here’s another attempt to take away guilt, a story from someone named M Cocoris: I was once conducting a [interactive] session with high school teenagers. I told them that they could ask me any question on any subject, and I would try and answer it…As the session drew to a close, one girl toward the back, who had not said anything, raised her hand. I nodded, and she said, "The Bible says God loves everybody. Then it says that God sends people to hell. How can a loving God do that?" I gave her my answer, and she came back to me with arguments. I answered her arguments, and she answered my answers. The conversation quickly degenerated into an argument. I did not convince her, nor did she convince me. After a few more questions I dismissed the session. After the session I approached her and said, "I owe you an apology. I really should not have allowed our discussion to become so argumentative." Then I asked, "May I share something with you?" She said, "Yes." So I took her through a basic presentation of the gospel. When I got to Romans 3:23 and suggested that all of us were sinners she began to cry. It was then that this high school senior admitted she had been having an affair with a married man. The one thing she needed was forgiveness. When I finished the presentation of the gospel, she trusted Christ. The reason she did not believe in hell was because she was going there. In her heart she knew she had sinned. Her conscience condemned her, but rather than face the fact of her guilt, she simply denied any future judgment or future hell.
A guilty mine. We hate guilt. We are consumed. We can try to justify ourselves, it wasn’t really my fault… Take guilt as a warning light do something. Guilt is the first step in God redeeming you, changing you. A guilty mind is good, if it leads to wholeness. The red warning light on the dashboard is good, if it leads you to take your car in for servicing and it stops a major repair. One last seed of hope: Isaiah. 55:7.
The Lord does amazing things. The goal of forgiveness is not make you as you once were, the goal is to go to God and become a completely new person, better than ever, redeemed in heart, soul, mind and strength. To be pardoned is an amazing thing: you no longer need to be in bondage to your sin. No punishment is needed. Your mind is redeemed and your life is changed. When your mind is overwhelmed by guilt, consider that it may be the Lord speaking to your heart through your mind. The Lord does not want to punish you, although there may be human consequences, but he wants to forgive you and change you so that your mind will be renewed. A guilty mind is good, when we see it as a warning light to do something about it.