Released From the Guilt Trap
Preface: Judgment is coming; but grace and mercy are still available for those who earnestly seek for it.
As a teenager, I fell into Satan’s timeless trap of doubting God’s love for me. I was convinced that my past mistakes were so great that God could not forgive me. Worse still, He could not accept me. My guilt was pushing me further away from my God.
It was not until a friend challenged me to consider that God is love and was desperate to have me back that I decided to put God to the test. I challenged God to wake me up early enough to study His Word before anyone in the house began to stir. (I’m sure God smiled and had to laugh. Too easy!)
I was wide awake at 5:30 a.m., quite a miracle for someone who is definitely not a morning person. So I opened my Bible. It fell open to Isaiah 1. “ ‘When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen’ ” (verse 15, NIV). My heart broke and I cried my heart out to God. “ ‘Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!’ ” (verses 16, 17, NIV). “ ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’ ” (verse 18, NIV). There it was. Forgiveness. Love. Comfort. Acceptance.
Here I had been beating myself up over sins that God had already forgiven! My penalty had been paid. I beheld my God of comfort and love. What a wonderful Savior!
Just as I had misunderstood the love of my Father in heaven, so do many today see God as a condemning, punitive dictator—if they even believe in Him at all. Many look at religion and judge God by what they see. Many are leaving the church because of the way they are treated by people in the church. How sad. When will we learn that Christianity is not the religion we choose, but the relationship we have with our Savior? So many are serving their religion rather than their God. Don’t they see they are making an idol of it?
Isaiah had a very clear message. Yes, retribution, but there was always a way out. Good news! “Here is your God!” Shout it from the mountains! Your God loves you and your time of hardship is over!
Memo to myself: Let go of your guilt and your sin. Give it to Jesus. He has paid your penalty. He loves you. Now, let it go.
Maybe this message is for you too?
Di Obst, Mildura, Australia