Guilt Me no more - Part 2

Dear Friends,

I hope that my last post got you thinking about enjoying Jesus more. Our purpose on earth is to glorify God. How can we do this when we are always focusing on our constant failures? It is of great importance to be able to let go of your guilt and move on because if you cannot do this, I am afraid you are doomed to project your guilt wrongfully onto others.

As I was discussing my previous post with my Mom I made the comment that people get all defensive when I talk about these things because I focus on freedom in Christ so much. She looked surprised (rightfully so - it's a very silly response I think). For some reason, Christians see my bubbly attitude and persistent focus of having Joy in Christ and when I talk about releasing yourself from guilt so much they feel like they need to remind me of it. I assume they must think I am terribly prideful, or I must forget that I am redeemed because I simply don't walk around with enough humility and self degradation - so I must not get it. I must not take things seriously.

I realize releasing guilt from your own life is difficult. Trust me, it's a process and an effort. One of the main reasons to do this however is so that we can be obedient to Scripture by encouraging others. You have probably heard, or perhaps experienced, that if you have a fault or weakness it's easy to spot and project that sin or behavior onto others.  It's no different with guilt. If you aren't daily rejoicing in Christ, then it's much easier to assume others aren't either and in your effort to justify yourself and your own beliefs you can make unfounded accusations and hurtful comments to others.

While confession to Christ is important and a humble spirit of thankfulness is a necessity, much damage can be done if you tell a sensitive Christian brother or sister how much of a sinner they are instead of encouraging them and reminding them to thank the Lord for forgiveness!

 I consider myself to be a very conservative Christian. Most of the world would agree with that as well, except some very very conservative Christians that would label me as liberal. This puts me in a kind of awkward limbo. I believe that there are many life issues where two genuine Christians can look at the same scripture passage and come up with two different convictions. I also believe that this is perfectly acceptable.  (Excluding some blatant theological basics that are black and white in Scripture such as Jesus being the only Savior, the Trinity, and one God that created the world etc). I've run into a lot of Christians that are not ok with this concept at all and so I have been accused of sinning, simply because I disagree with them.

Personal example:  let's touch on the uncomfortable topic of physical intimacy before marriage. There are some Christians who hold the conviction that they are not to be physically intimate in any way with their significant other before marriage. This includes kissing. I disagree with that, but I can also understand it, respect it, and encourage that person in their conviction should they ask me to do so. Although my personal convictions allow me to kiss my boyfriend, some people have a hard time extending the same courtesy to me, assuming since they are convicted differently in their own life, that my standard must be lower and will inevitably lead me down the slippery slope to sex before marriage (which i would agree is unscriptural).

There are many valid reasons for conviction and - listen closely when I say this - *I believe that God can convict different people differently*.  Let's stay on the topic of kissing just as a basic example. The Bible has no specific regulations, laws, rights or wrongs about this - so I think it's quite plausible for many Christians to have many different views on this subject.

To illustrate, let's say Person A has had physical relationships in the past that she felt like went too far (outside of marriage) and so she has set more stringent boundaries going forward. This is completely reasonable and I would encourage her in that if it is her conviction.  Person B on the other hand is perfectly fine kissing her boyfriend but has set standards of going absolutely no farther, and within the confines of kissing has set limits to prevent getting to a point of regret. That too is acceptable and I would encourage her in that. Just as we have different personalities, and different strengths and weaknesses, we are allowed to have different convictions on a variety of subjects.

My challenge to you is to stop freaking out if someone has different standards than you.  Stop for a second and think about what sin is.  Also think about the heart of the person that makes you uncomfortable. Think about the big picture, and think about what the Bible actually says regarding a topic - it may be different from what you assume you should believe.

One last thought - how did Jesus treat people? He was always gentle, loving, forgiving, and never accusatory. The only people He would get angry at were those who thought they were better than everyone else and flaunted it publicly - because their hearts weren't in the right place. So please, watch what you say to a friend who thinks differently. You could be the encouraging light in their life, or you could be a judgemental hypocrite.  Watch your words, watch your actions and take a seriously long look at your motivation. Most of all, let them speak and listen carefully to where they come from. It may be God trying to shake YOU up!

Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

1 Peter 4:8-10
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Hebrews 10:24

 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing

1 Peter 4:8-10

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms

Ephesians 4:29

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.