How many of you tote around a large purse on your shoulder that if it was weighed at the airport it would surpass the weight limit? (Mom, you should be mentally raising your hand.)
Yet no matter how many times you try to clean out in order to lighten the load, it quickly fills up with unnecessary stuff and weighs you back down. For example, do I really need to keep the nylon footie I used when I tried on some heels at DSW or the expired gift cards? Are three tubes of lip gloss really necessary?
Doctors, chiropractors and massage therapists warn about the negative physical effects of carrying a heavy purse on our shoulder day after day. It effects the posture, spinal health, creates knots in our back…etc.
There is something else that Christian women are carrying around that weighs us down besides a Michael Kors’ purse. It’s another accessory, but this is one of the most unflattering accessories we put on and so many of us refuse to take off.
This accessory goes by many names: regret, shame, guilt.
Is there something from your past that haunts and clings to you?
Look, we ALL have done things in our past we’ve regretted or felt ashamed or guilty about. We ALL fall short before Christ. As a Christian we believe our sins are forgiven through Christ’s death, and when we repent we are reassured that his death paid that debt!
But there is a disconnect. We “know” this in our mind, but our heart has a hard time believing the promise.
Sometimes when I’m taking communion I find myself still confessing a particular sin I committed years ago. I literally will have to shake my head and tell myself, “Katie, you’ve already been forgiven for that! Why are you bringing this up? Move on, already!”
Do you continue to make payments?
If you repent for your sin, yet continue to carry around guilt or shame what does that say to Jesus? It’s like you are saying, “Jesus, I don’t think your death was quite enough to pay off my debt, so I am gonna go ahead and carry this guilt to make sure my debt is completely paid off.”
Your sin is no longer yours. Christ has taken those sins from you!
You have a choice
Since it’s Lent, let’s talk about two disciples who did something they both were ashamed of and regretted doing.
One was so burdened by his guilt that he took his own life. The other disciple moved beyond his guilt to become one of the most influential apostles in early Christianity. Who are these two people? Peter (denied Jesus three times) and Judas (handed Jesus over to his enemies).
We have choices! Once we repent of our sin, we can choose to leave the guilt behind and allow God to work through us like he did with Peter. Or we can continue to carry the guilt with us in the present, which affects our future. Now, you may not take your life like Judas did, but when you continue to carry your guilt you block Jesus’ love and grace from transforming your life.
A “guilty” verdict
What follows a guilty verdict? There is punishment, right? So when you continue to cling to guilt you probably are punishing yourself.
We feel ashamed so we want to feel reassured and comforted. But we seek out all the “false comforters” such as overindulging with food, alcohol and shopping, instead of seeking the only true comforter, the Spirit of Christ.
We also let shame and guilt block us from receiving love from others because we foolishly feel we don’t deserve it.
Guilt makes you look fat
Okay shame and guilt may not really make you look fat, but it holds you back from receiving blessings. The weight of it keeps you from LIVING life.
Think about how a guilty person acts. They hide. They withdraw. Their faces are downcast. If you are hanging on to guilt from your past how are able to serve God and his kingdom?
Still not convinced?
Once you repent for your sins, God reassures us of our forgiveness through his word. Cling to these scriptures instead of clinging to guilt.
Psalm 103:12: As far as sunrise is from sunset, God has separated us from our sins.
Titus 2:11: God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone!
1 John 2:12: Your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name.
Mark 3:28: Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven.
If someone or something triggers a shameful memory from your past, don’t let it grow into mind weeds of guilt and unworthiness. It’s another ploy from Satan to separate you from the grace and mercy from Christ.
If the feeling of guilt rises up, inhale and then as you exhale feel those toxic emotions leave your body.
God has work for you to do, and blessings he is waiting to give you! Quit rehashing the past, claim the power in Jesus’ death to leave your sins in the past, and allow God to continue the wonderful plans at work in YOUR life!