Getting Rid of Guilt Once and For All: Why You Still Feel Guilty (blog post)

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Getting Rid of Guilt Once and For All: Why You Still Feel Guilty

It’s sad!

One of the saddest realities of human existence is the fact that so many people carry around the unbearable weight of guilt from past mistakes.
The existence of guilt is one of the primary reasons psychologists, counselors, therapists, physicians, pharmacists, and florists stay perpetually busy. People all around the world seek to assuage their guilt through so many things and yet, for the most part, people remain locked in the grip of either ‘guilt’ itself… or the toxins and captors that promised freedom from guilt.
I doubt if this is overstated.

People truly are riddled with guilt from past mistakes and besetting sins from which they just can’t get free.
It’s really, really, really time for that to end.


Freedom From Guilt is on God’s Terms, Not Ours

But it isn’t automatic. Freedom from the pain of guilt is available to all, but receiving such freedom (emancipation, really) comes on God’s terms, not ours.
For a person, any person, who wants to truly be free… freedom awaits. But the process of being forgiven cannot be short-circuited, otherwise we remain in its suffocating grip.
Let’s explore what I believe are the six scriptural principles of freedom from guilt. And our failure to comply with these six biblical principles is “Why You (We, or I) Still Feel Guilty.”
You can also find a full discussion of these truths on this video version of this discussion, given originally in a Facebook LIVE event.


6 Tips to Getting Rid of Guilt Once and For All

1. To Get Rid of Guilt, We Must Have Awareness of Sin

-We have to become aware that what we’re doing displeases God
-We have to know the difference between right and wrong
-This involves paying careful attention to our hearts. This includes, listening to our conscience. And if you’re a Christian, listening to the Holy Spirit. Half the battle is obeying your conscience, so it doesn’t become abuse and silenced, and then failing to make you aware of sin.
Scripture: Rom 3:20 ESV: For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.


2. To Get Rid of Guilt, We Must Have Acknowledgement of Sin

We must admit or acknowledge it—otherwise we’re keeping secrets from ourselves and we can’t go any further into freedom without acknowledging our sin (individually, not only as a whole set of sins ever committed—at some point, if things are bothering us, we must confess those singularly, one by one).
Scripture: Ps 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
This passages comes from the “Man After God’s Own Heart” (the person God said pursued Him the most in his own time in history) who had to come to grips with this important principle. So, if the Man After God’s Own Heart had to come to grips with acknowledging it—so might we!


3. To Get Rid of Guilt, We Must Have Contrition

To have contrition means we regret something. I’m not a big fan of when people say “I have no regrets in life.” Really? I mean, really, really?
Unless a person has lived sinful perfection, I can’t imagine saying that. Now, people often mean “I learned something valuable” so they wouldn’t take an action back. The only problem with that is that “it’s not all about us.” In other words, the reason regret is important isn’t just because of US… we should have regret because that makes it clear that we recognize the pain we have caused OTHERS. Only a selfish view of our actions would keep us from having regrets.
And regret is the essence behind the concept of contrition. It means that we feel bad about it. We could have, should have, done otherwise.
Scripture: Psalm 51:17 New International Version: My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.


4. To Get Rid of Guilt, We Must Confess

Confess means to “declare the same thing” or “to repeat.” When we confess, we declare to God that His conviction of our action is accurate. It means we repeat that accusation and conviction back to Him… that we agree with it and declare it.
Proper biblical confession holds nothing back. It fully owns what we’ve done. It doesn’t restate the sin to our own liking, but instead restates it just as God has shown it to us. When we say the same thing about our sin as God does, we can be forgiven. When we shirk responsibility by confessing “to a lesser charge,” we remain in spiritual bondage. It’s as simple as that.
Scripture: Ps 32:5 “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.”
Scripture; 1 John 1:9 “If we are faithful to confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


5. To Get Rid of Guilt, We Must Repent

Repentance means to change one’s mind. It means to do an about face. It means that we are going in one direction, wrongly, and we recognize and acknowledge that, and then “respond” by changing our mind about what we are doing and the direction we are going… resulting in a change of mind and, after repentance, a change of behavior.
Note that repentance is not the change in behavior exactly—it’s the change of mind. It’s the change of heart. That change and repentance begins to work its way into our behavior and our livestyle. God works His will into us and his transformation from the inside out, which is why it’s mostly about what is going on inside of us. Then, that inward change, results in outward behaviors. But repentance is getting our heart and head right, and that causes a change in our lives as a result.
Scripture: Acts 3:19 –repent that times of refreshing should come from the Lord


6. To Get Rid of Guilt, We May Have to Give Restitution

Genuine repentance leads to a desire to do whatever we can humanly do to right the wrongs in our past. This is what “restitution” is.
Restitution takes many forms. It may mean to approach someone and offer the grace of an apology. It may mean serving a person we’ve violated in some way. It may mean a type of action where we demonstrate penance—and not in “that” way… but to demonstrate to a person we’ve wounded or violated that we are “doing something” as a way to visibly show our contrition and apology. Restitution sometimes even involves cash payment, though that’s when the punishment fits the crime (like when stealing or embezzlement, etc. has occurred).
So what about restitution?
Sometimes restitution is necessary, and sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes restitution is possible, and sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes restitution is practical, and sometimes it isn’t.

Now, it should be clear that—even when restitution isn’t practical, it may be necessary. So “impracticality” isn’t in any way an indication that restitution isn’t needed. Impracticality simply makes it harder to do. But, just as it wasn’t “easy” for Jesus to manifest in human flesh in order to die on a cross for human sin—we can’t use the excuse that showing restitution for our wounding of another person is “impractical” or isn’t “easy.” That’s beside the point.
[Want More Details? Watch The Live Video Talk]
Even so, even if it IS possible, and even practical—that doesn’t mean God always wants us to do it in every situation.
Want to learn more about this principle? See my live video talk.
If you have received forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ, all of your sins are forgiven, whether or not you have been able to make restitution for them. But IF YOU DON’T FEEL FREE FROM A PARTICULAR SIN—ask God to reveal to you if restitution is needed then follow through.
Scripture: Exodus 22:1-14; Leviticus 6:2-5; Matthew 5:23-24
Matthew 5:23-24: “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift (of worship to the Lord).


What Happens When We Do These Things?

When we biblically deal with our guilt, God responds.

  1. God forgives our offense and restores fellowship with Him (and sometimes others)
  2. God cleanses our lives- and continues to make us holy (like Him and for His use), increasing the spiritual power in our lives, enabling His mighty work in our lives.
  3. He removes emotional guilt (Ps 32:3-5). That results in the end of self-loathing. It means finally having the grace to forgive ourselves and to stop allowing ourselves to be condemned by Satan and to live under the crushing weight of others’ disapproval.

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Why You 'Still' Feel Guilty (Watch Our Very First Facebook Live Video)

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It’s sad.

One of the saddest realities of human existence is the fact that so many people carry around the unbearable weight of guilt from past mistakes.
The existence of guilt is one of the primary reasons psychologists, counselors, therapists, physicians, pharmacists, and florists stay perpetually busy. People all around the world seek to assuage their guilt through so many things and yet, for the most part, people remain locked in the grip of either ‘guilt’ itself… or the toxins and captors that promised freedom from guilt.
Freedom from the pain of guilt is available to all, but receiving such freedom (emancipation, really) comes on God’s terms, not ours.
For a person, any person, who wants to truly be free… freedom awaits. But the process of being forgiven cannot be short-circuited, otherwise we remain in its suffocating grip.
Let’s explore what I believe are the six scriptural principles of freedom from guilt. And our failure to comply with these six biblical principles is “Why You (We, or I) Still Feel Guilty.”


Thank you!

This event aired live on Facebook on July 22, 2017. It simultaneously aired on Twitter and Periscope livestream as well. Without calculating non-Facebook views, we’re excited that over 300 friends and supporters have now viewed this important discussion on forgiveness and mercy. This is a screenshot from earlier that includes many, but not all of our views and engagement. You’ll see that nearly 1000 of you engaged the Live (or Later) event in some way, in addition to the views that were mentioned. Please accept our thanks. You’re encouraged to view it again, or please share it using the social media buttons on this page– just click and it’s done!


Engagement Facebook



Disclaimer: Facebook Live records at less-than full high definition
As also seen on Periscope and Twitter here.

[audio podcast] 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes [podcast]

Podcast Seminary BannerA Short History of Christian Spirituality


Want to learn about 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes?

Read the blog version

Spiritual maturity is important to Christians, so they have always sought to understand spirituality. Christian formation has to do with how we cooperate with God in our own personal transformation and quest for spiritual maturity. Listen to learn about several of the key movements in the history of Christianity and how believers of different centuries have thought about and practiced their faith!


http://podcastseminary.libsyn.com/2000-years-of-christian-spirituality-in-20-minutes-e012


Conclusion

That is a basic introduction to the history of Spiritual Formation. These forces did and still do impact Christians and how they think about their faith. At least gaining a basic understanding of these movements will help Christians understand other believers and how they experience God and seek to grow spiritually. Be encouraged to learn more– to expand your understanding of other believers, and also to think about how your relationship with God can become stronger through a stronger appreciation of how fellow believers seek to know God.

20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes [blog]

Podcast Seminary BannerA Short History of Christian Spirituality


by Chase Webster and Freddy Cardoza


Want to learn about 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes?

Spiritual maturity is important to Christians, so they have always sought to understand spirituality.
Christian formation has to do with how we cooperate with God in our own personal transformation and quest for spiritual maturity. Christians have always, since the days Jesus walked with His disciples, engaged in spiritual formation.
Later, after Jesus ascended into heaven, and as the Church matured in the following centuries, there was also a maturing of devotional practice. What was done individually and privately by believers, was more fully understood and communicated to other believers in future centuries. Spirituality began to be practiced systematically in Christian communities. And over time, a greater understanding and development of spiritual disciplines was identified, written about, and practiced.
The history of that development happened in a series of important events over the last 2000 years—events which inform us even today, and that helps our ability to grow spiritually mature.
One wonders, what were the major developments in how Christians and the church thought about spiritual formation? That’s a long and interesting story that began with Jesus, then began to change in the centuries that followed.

The Desert Fathers (250 AD) –

Before Christianity became the state religion under Constantine, believers were being persecuted and even martyred for their faith.
Christians would pray more, met together more, and meditated more because the physical and spiritual needs were great during the time of persecution.
Once Christianity became the state religion, there was changes that came to the faith. A person was no longer in danger if they believed in Jesus as their Savior. This led to a more relaxed approach to maturity and spiritual disciplines among many.
Also, the state religion started to blend Christianity with their old pagan practices. So there were some men who decided to remove themselves from society and practice spiritual disciplines out in the desert, hence the name Desert Fathers (and Mothers). These men would meet in caves to pray and meditate. Eventually they would form communities in the caves. These people are believed to be the first model of monks and the monastic movement.
Following the Desert Fathers and monastic periods, the next major era of Christian Formation took place during the Protestant Reformation.

Protestant Reformation (1500s) –

One of the monks started to observe how the Church lacked an emphasis of a personal relationship with God in the faith. This monk’s name was Martin Luther. Luther raised issues that he thought the Church had like a distant relationship with the Father, very little guidance from the Spirit, faith by grace, and how an individual is justified. Luther was eventually excommunicated from the Church because of his differences with Catholic Church. He never intended on starting the Lutheran Church, but he stuck to his beliefs and there were those agreed and followed him.
The Reformation continued and matured, ultimately leading to the modern age. The largest movement of the 20th Century was Evangelicalism, birthed from Christian Fundamentalism.

Evangelicalism – (1950s-1960s)

The Evangelical movement was a break off from the fundamentalism in 1950s and 1960s. Evangelicals believed that fundamentalism was becoming legalistic and hard towards the movement of the Spirit. At the core of the Evangelical movement is that the person who believes is born again. Typically, evangelical spirituality has focused on the Word of God and personal discipleship, where people model spiritual maturity and teach people in discipleship settings, with a focus on biblical instruction, content, and application. So the focus in evangelical spiritual formation has especially been centered on the Word of God and on Truth.
A sister movement, within Evangelicalism– but that also became very large in the coming decades, until now, sprang up in the 1960s and beyond.

Charismatic Movement (1960s)-

Charismatic Christians thought spirituality and Christian maturity should be more focused on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, including supernatural actions of the Spirit and certain manifestations they believed to be an ongoing part of the ministry of God’s Spirit. Though this is debated within Evangelicalism, the Charismatic movement is a massive movement in the world and within Christianity, and faith and spirituality among Charismatics ‘looks differently’ than it does in other Evangelical churches and among other evangelical Christians. Charismatic believers emphasize spiritual experiences related to the baptism of the Spirit and what is commonly called “speaking in tongues.” These are, again, understood differently in non-Charismatic evangelical churches, but a great number of Charismatic believers emphasize these experiences. Charismatics focus more on experience and experiential Christianity—than only or primarily on teaching the Word of God and personal discipleship in ways more traditional to other evangelicals.
One of the most recent movements in history concerning spiritual formation focused its efforts towards reforming the heart, with a greater interest in more ancient understandings of Christian spirituality and a variety of devotional exercises called ‘spiritual disciples.’

Spiritual Formation Movement (1970s-1980s)-

In 1970s-80s, there were men like Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and many others who wanted to refocus the discipleship experience of many Christians. The movement was taking place amongst evangelicals so the issue was not about salvation, but the issue was concerning more internally in regards to the heart and the nature of discipleship. This movement focused on what happens internally, in the heart, in the process of spiritual growth. Spiritual formation sought to combat moralism and the tendency toward legalism that some evangelicals had. It also sought to expand the Charismatic understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in the process of discipleship, by integrating sometimes ancient devotional practices to help people understand God’s work in their hearts, in hopes of transforming how believers understand and experience personal discipleship and life change.

Conclusion

That is a basic introduction to the history of Spiritual Formation. These forces did and still do impact Christians and how they think about their faith. At least gaining a basic understanding of these movements will help Christians understand other believers and how they experience God and seek to grow spiritually. Be encouraged to learn more– to expand your understanding of other believers, and also to think about how your relationship with God can become stronger through a stronger appreciation of how fellow believers seek to know God.

God Knows (Everything) | Enjoy the Ride Series | Video 5 of 8

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God knows… absolutely everything.

Because God is all-knowing, God’s knowledge is without limits and infinitely expansive. This is called “omniscience.” God knows everything actual and possible. God is never caught unawares or flat-footed. God has allowed human free will which can complicate life for us… but is incapable of thwarting God’s plan.
In this session we learn more about the great Mind of God and how His knowledge exploits evildoers and exalts good, working everything into His plan for us and our lives.
Life can be hard. But it’s made harder when we don’t know how God works. It’s time to get it right. Check out this critical discussion of the Knowledge of God.


https://youtu.be/t9ye_1_ah8g

If you like it, please “share” it by clicking a social media share button!

What the Bible's Longest Chapter Teaches Us

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What the Bible's Longest Chapter Teaches


Psalm 119 has the honored status of being the Bible’s longest chapter.
Fittingly, it also happens to be ‘all about’ the Bible. It’s nearly 200 verses are packed with information about the Word of God and its importance.
In this Podcast Seminary episode, our Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, unpacks a total of 24 principles learned from the Bible “about” the Bible.
You’ll learn:
12 Ways the Bible Describes Itself
12 Benefits of the Word of God
Listen in!


God Loves Us | Enjoy the Ride Series | Video 4 of 8

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Facebook, ENJOY THE RIDE SERIES, 4 of 8


We were created… for God to love us.

God loves us. We must accept that truth, and move on.
One of the most important things to settle in the Christian life is the issue of God’s love. Specifically, it is crucial that we accept the truth that God is “fundamentally ‘good.'”
God’s goodness does not mean nothing bad will ever happen to you. We live in a broken world with broken people, so bad choices and free will sometimes go together. But how do we make sense of it all?
In this session we will talk about how God’s love works, then learn how to take steps forward in our spiritual lives, in spite of the fact that life can be confusing.


Learn more in this important session, part 4 of an 8 part series on the Doctrine of God.


https://youtu.be/mT-0DbUhsd8

If you like it, please “share” it by clicking a social media share button!

God Has It Under Control | Enjoy the Ride Series | Video 3 of 8

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God Has It Under Control. God is Sovereign.  Enjoy the Ride.


God is sovereign. He is “over all” and in control. Because of this, God is the creator, ruler, sustainer, and judge of the universe. And as such, He is able. When life hits you mercilessly, trust the theological truth of God’s sovereignty—which means He can handle it. Learn more in this important session, part 3 of an 8 part series on the Doctrine of God.


https://youtu.be/N9RqkhsnowI


If you like it, please “share” it by clicking a social media share button!