Oh, to be free. Free from the lies we believe, the guilt we carry, and the underlying shame that eats at our very souls. Freedom is possible, but we must first bring truth into focus. False guilt is a trap and you can be set free.
This week’s challenge is to identify and write down an area in which you struggle with false guilt. If you feel so moved, elaborate on the lie that is the basis of the false guilt.
Guilt traps you in endless questions that don’t have answers. It runs in a pack with self-criticism, regret, and shame. Pat answers are not helpful when it comes to guilt, because guilt doesn’t live in logic.
When we ask the question, “What is the purpose of guilt?” we realize that it serves as a warning, or a kind of internal alarm that we are crossing some boundaries and there will be consequences. There are two kinds of guilt – real guilt and false guilt.
2 Corinthians 7:10 - For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.
Godly grief, or guilt that is God-given, focuses on a solution, while false guilt focuses on the problem. God-given guilt is the result from sin, the result of a choice you have made, and should lead to repentance (turning away from sin). Repentance is less about stopping the sin, and more about choosing to follow Jesus again. Excuses and partial surrender are not repentance, they are substitutions for the real thing. Real guilt is conviction, which leads you closer to God.
False guilt is like a heavy cloak that we wear around our necks. The root of false guilt produces spiritual fruit of judgment, anger, isolation, and rejection. This type of guilt is not of God. It doesn’t come from an actual wrongdoing, but instead it comes from a twisted point of view of “shouldn’t” (phrases like “could have”, “should have”, “would have” are hints that false guilt is near). False guilt is based on emotion.
Feeling guilt and being guilty are different. False guilt comes from being accused of a crime you didn’t commit. Satan the accuser will take advantage of this opportunity to replay your events and accuse you. The way you replay the memory is not the way it actually happened. False guilt falls apart when confronted with the truth. False guilt is wrongful imprisonment and the truth shall set you free!
Some examples of false guilt are– Survivor’s guilt (makes you block out help and forgiveness from others, you try to punish yourself), guilt over involuntary fight, flight, or freeze response, guilt by association, competency guilt, catch-22 guilt, helplessness guilt, and responsibility guilt.
Don’t forget to text someone this week! Guilt can be a difficult topic, and you don’t have to process it alone.