Guilt vs. Conviction
“I feel guilty I said that.” “I feel guilty I thought that.” “I feel guilty I did that.” Is guilt a real thing or something we say to get other people off our back? Or is guilt something we do to others to make them do what we want? “She made me feel guilty, so I didn’t…” We feel guilty or are made to feel guilty on a daily basis if we allow.
In counseling, many people say they feel guilty. Furthermore, they often attribute that to something God is doing to them. “I feel guilty. I know God doesn’t want me to…” Wait a minute! I don’t think that guilt is from Jesus and here is why. When we feel guilty, we often hang our head in shame embarking in self-deprecating self-talk about how we should have known better and wondering what is wrong with us. We begin a downward spiral of discouragement, frustration, and sometimes hopelessness. Downward spirals are not God-induced, therefore guilt isn’t from Jesus.
Conviction is from Jesus and the reason is that when we feel convicted, we are more likely to take steps towards positive change. Conviction is recognizing the fact that we are guilty, but not camping there. We begin to move on from that point with motivation and direction towards a new goal. It causes us to take a stance, own our mistake and move onward. This positive outlook causes us to look up rather than hang our head in shame and when we look up, we have the potential to see Jesus.
The next time you “feel guilty”, remember that guilt isn’t from Jesus. Are you feeling convicted? Then it may be time for a change.
Psalm 22:5 - “To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”