What makes you feel guilty? I feel guilty when I gossip, watch something questionable, lose my temper with Ian, spend too much money, eat too much fat, etc. The list goes on, of course. Actually, I’m tempted to stop right now and attempt to complete the list for my own sake. A list would be a good starting point for creating a plan to help myself overcome my weaknesses. It would also be a good bouncing off point for prayer time.
Why do you feel guilty? Is it because you aren’t living up to your ideal, or do you actually suspect or even know that God isn’t happy with you when you engage in certain activities?
If you don’t think God approves, or even if you’re just not sure, why not trade in your activity for a guilt-free conscience? Is continuing in the activity really worth the guilt you’re feeling over it? Can you live without it or find something to replace it?
Even this is from a selfish perspective. I’m trying to persuade you that it’s better for you to live a guilt-free lifestyle – that you’ll be happier that way. In reality, we should be as sinless as humanly possible because that’s what God wants. He created us, and He makes the rules. As an added benefit, yes, you will be happier that way. We’re always happier when we do things God’s way.
Whenever I feel guilty about something, I try to figure out a way to stop doing whatever it is that makes me feel that way. Sometimes, I have to find a way to stop without offending other people. If I don’t want to watch something that’s playing on television or continue a conversation that includes gossip, I sometimes have trouble expressing why. I never want to make anyone feel that I think I am better than they are.
Sometimes, letting go of an activity is a process. I have to keep praying for myself over and over. Eventually, I will feel peace about letting go completely. It always feels good. I don’t even have to beat myself up over past mistakes if I know that I am truly repentant, and ready to begin a new chapter in my life.
Guilt can be a good thing. The Holy Spirit points to things in our lives that need changing. Once you have made those changes, ask for forgiveness and let go of your guilt. Why feel guilty over something for which God has forgiven you and has Himself intentionally forgotten?
Now, I’m gonna finish my list, and try to think of ways to cross things off for good.
A quick question before I go: Do any of you have a humble way of telling others that you don’t want to gossip, watch TV, etc?