I Was Just Thinking About – THE STRUGGLE WITH GUILT.
There are many things in life’s experience that can cause one a moment, or a prolonged sense of guilt. There are always the “If Only” situations that occur on a personal level. Last year, I had committed myself to calling my brother at least twice a week (three times was my goal). My brother had not been well for an extended period of time. I normally would’ve called him by July 9th but that day included many other things and I never got around to it. July 10th was a Sunday and we were busy with travel and activities. On July 11th, it never crossed my mind to call him. But then, on July 12th, I received an early call that my brother and his wife sat down at the table for a light Breakfast. His wife had to leave the room briefly. When she returned, his head was on the table and he had breathed his last breath.
There are other areas of our lives where guilt can become (or should be present) where (a) forgiveness needs to sought or granted – but hasn’t been; (b) someone has been offended, or been the cause of a personal offense, and Matthew 5:23-24 has been ignored; (c) words, deeds and actions for which repentance must take place – but again – we conveniently forget a passage such as Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Does the Biblical Christian believe that he/she is exempt in this area before the Holy God? Have we embraced a mentality that there are certain things from which we are exempt? What place does James 5:16 have in our lives, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Do we truly believe these words? Do we make appropriate application of them?
It’s been a very long time since I’ve heard or read a sermon on the peril of a seared conscience. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about many things he would encounter while doing ministry. A collective thought is given in I Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences are seared with a hot iron.” In reality, one does not need to look far to determine the reality of the “seared conscience” both in the secular world of cultural decay, as well as the spiritual world of church erosion. This impacts the professing Christian who becomes less and less offended by the things that offend a Holy God, while becoming more and more tolerant of sub-standard foundational principles.
I John 1:8-9 spells what must be done: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Prayerfully – consider these things with me!