Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guilty Conscience


One of my biggest regrets in life stems from a time in childhood that I remember well: Being grounded. Grounded, for us, meant no tv, no telephone and no friends. In a neighborhood surrounded by buddies, it was always difficult to stay inside on a warm summer day. But, as I often remembered during this time of punishment, I did have a little brother.

My brother and I had a strange little game that we often played, every time I found myself grounded for whatever reason. It really was silly-simple, whenever I was homebound, he and I would play “Friends”. Not much to this game, we would simply hang out with one another and play games around the house. We would grab a Monopoly board or we would set up legos, anything to entertain ourselves. For however long, we were no longer siblings…we were friends.

Eventually, however, I would find my punishment over. My mom would inform me that I was free and I would take off running to the neighbor’s house. I would shoot my brother a quick glance and say the words that haunt me to this day: “Friends is over.”

What a heartless sister I was. My brother, much younger than I, was rarely invited to play with us. The moment I found myself with no restrictions, I pushed him aside for something (I thought to be) better. Now, more than fifteen years later, I still carry this shame like an open wound in my heart.

Romans 8:1
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” - NIV

How big of a role does guilt play in our spiritual lives? Have we hidden away bad decisions that always seem to rear their ugly head in times of prosperity? Have we carried this burden so long that our shoulders are blue with shame?

Guilt is such a domineering force; it can stop us in our tracks or keep us from taking steps at all. Fortunately, God knows the power of the culpable cross we carry and He sent His Son to do the heavy lifting. The entire message of Christ is grace, mercy and forgiveness. God knows there are things in our lives that must be covered in grace, it is a biblical fact. The nature of God is forgiveness; and to remove our guilty hearts, we must allow Him this role.

I have to wonder: Have we let our guilty conscience overpower our graceful God?

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