In my last post I began talking about guilt; and we discussed some of the wrong ways to deal with guilt. We discussed how the believer should understand his guilt in light of the Gospel. I want to take just a short time today and mention some very practical ways to not live under the oppression of guilt. When we actually practice what we know to be true, and that is an understanding of, and resting in the grace of God, we find it is more than enough. So, below I have summarized some of Dr. Lane’s suggestions for the believer.
- Freely confess your sin: Part of what makes guilt thrive is secrecy, and silence. We are to confess our sins to one another. Now, this doesn’t mean proclaim your sin in the middle of a fellowship or church service; but, it does mean that I allow other believers to step in my life and I do not hide my sin from them. The Church is to aid in your sanctification: your brothers and sisters can give you truth, they can see your sin and direct you to the cross. As they give you the truth of the Word of God and provide accountability and prayer, you will find that God uses them to grow you and sanctify you. This growth in your life can also open up doors for you to minister to others who are struggling with the same sin.
- Know that you are not alone: Again, this is where confession to other believers will help, by understanding that you were allowed to face this challenge or crisis to encourage others. After you have gotten victory over the specific sin or the general guilt, don’t hide it, but rather encourage and help others as they walk through guilt and sin. We need to remind ourselves that guilt is more than a feeling, it is a reality. We are guilty on our own, but we are righteous and do not have to live under that guilt because of Christ.
- Preach to yourself: Speak to yourself about the power and beauty of the grace of Christ. Read Romans 5: it is not flattering about us, but speaks wonders about the grace of God. Remind yourself what Christ did for you on the cross, and then proclaim that truth to others as they are struggling in their walk with Christ. As you speak that truth to them, it will help you as well. As I am preaching to myself and encouraging others, it will keep me in the Word of God.
These are only a few of the things we can do to battle the feeling and reality of guilt. There is a wonderful book by John MacArthur entitled Forgiveness that will help you greatly if you are facing this.