Monday, February 19, 2018

For When You're Haunted By Endless Guilt & Shame

If you've done the Christian life for any length of time, it's no big surprise to you that the enemy of our souls prowls around like the ferocious evil beast he is.  

Looking to push our buttons, trip us up, eat us alive, his goal is to render us useless for the victorious kingdom life we've been called to live.  And he'd love to get his merciless hooks into us so deep that we end up completely sidelined, wholly absorbed in the ungodly mess we've made along the way, and distracted from the essential work we've been gifted to do for Christ.

We know he loves to tempt us into falling head over heels into sin, shaking our fists in the face of God as we flagrantly disobey those ten commandments.  The enemy is a vicious liar from the pit of hell and in that role he loves to twist even the loveliest gifts, even just subtly, into something ungodly.




But I believe that two of his big guns are the lies of guilt and shame.  

I'm not talking about the clear cut conviction of the Holy Spirit and the deep remorse that comes when we realize how we have sinned against the One who ransomed us.

I'm talking about the nebulous feelings that come over us like big wet blankets.  The enemy whispers or shouts, depending on his pleasure, hissing in the most evil of tones.  His insidious lies weigh us down, immobilize us, and keep us stuck in a pit that seems to suck us deeper and deeper into self-condemnation and loathing.

We get lost in the ugly mire of woulda / coulda / shoulda's, defining ourselves by everything negative we've ever said or done instead of defining ourselves by our Savior.  We become great big losers in our own eyes, hopelessly fixated on our past screw-ups, weighed down by our accumulation of cumbersome baggage ... instead of focusing on the One who paid the priceless penalty for all our sin.

What a waste of the precious time and energy we've been given.

The more in love we are with God, the quicker we'll be able to discern when the Spirit is clearly putting His powerful finger on specific sins in our lives.  And those are the times we we need to own our stuff.  Experience the remorse, confessing every detail of the choices we've made to the One who longs to see us unshackled.  Ask for and receive the so desperately yearned for forgiveness.  Make amends.

And then be on our way forward.






Free as a bird.  Soaring high.  Doing the work He's called us to do.  Aiming for the heights of heaven's glory.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
- Galatians 5:1  




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hi


30 comments:

  1. It truly does come down to loving God and letting Him step in and point out the areas we try to hide and manage, Linda. I love the way you always point us into a deeper relationship with Jesus! Hugs to you, my friend!

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    1. Manage.

      Yeah, I can relate.

      How He must shake His head at our willful stubbornness ...

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  2. Those voices do tend to prowl about in the shadows too often. I'm grateful to voices like yours, Brene Brown and our own counselors who come alongside with words of truth to put light in those shadows. Yes, for freedom Christ has set us free!

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    1. Brene's research and storytelling is superb. And while not necessarily biblically based, she offers us plenty of truth about worth, courage, vulnerability, shame, and fear to ponder.

      Here's my review of her book, Rising Strong
      http://www.lindastoll.net/2015/11/cool-autumn-reads.html

      Thanks, Debby, for putting her name on the table.

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  3. The closer we are to God the harder the devil works to lead us astray. He will hardly waste his time on un-believers.

    God bless.

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    1. Sadly, that's true. Look how the enemy taunted Jesus in the desert place.

      But He emerged victorious.

      And by His power, we can, too ...

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  4. The deceiver will use any means to try to make us feel unworthy of God's great love. We cannot afford to even listen to the lies! When I feel adversely affected by those negative voices, I run to the Lord as fast as I can go in prayer.
    Thank for these insightful words, Linda. Blessings!

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    1. You hit the key word on the head, Martha.

      RUN.

      Don't linger, don't wonder, don't consider.

      Just run.

      Yes!

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  5. Linda---

    You nailed it when you said the more we love God we will be able to discern when the Holy Spirit is convicting us, as opposed to the enemy causing false guilt.

    Praise God we can be free of false guilt.

    Because of the Great Commandment I try frequently to tell God that I love Him - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    {via email}

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    1. Thanks for the reminder to frequently tell the Father, Son, and Spirit how much we adore their presence in our lives.

      The Trinity is oh so worthy of our praise ...

      O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together {Psalm 34:3}.

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  6. It's similar to what's haunting me now, the feeling that, looking back, my life was largely a waste. Bad decisions, wrong roads, and choices made based on faulty data.

    And the 'good' things didn't lead anywhere.

    I have very few mementoes of the past, which is a good thing, because they'd now be a mark of embarrassment.

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    1. And that past is finished and over with. Meanwhile, you've been living out your legacy with your words, your wisdom, making your mark through your writing, serving as a fine companion to others going through similar trials.

      And when all is said and done, that will far outpass the 'faulty data' that you encountered earlier on the trail.

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  7. Thank you, Linda, for such a beautiful post. I've seen people on either side of the pendulum on this, but as you pointed out so well, there are times to own guilt and let it do its work in showing us our need of forgiveness and grace and spurring us on to seek it, accept it, and do what we need to do to make amends. But that vague, unspecific feeling of guilt, or guilty feelings for what we've already confessed to the Lord, are a different story. I struggled with this immensely in my early Christian life. A former pastor once said that when the Holy Spirit is convicting, He will let you know what it's about. Sometimes we do need to ask him to search us, as the psalmist did - sometimes we overlook or explain away things we need to face up to. But His purpose is cleansing and restoration, not just making us feel bad. The devil's purpose is tripping us up or ensnaring us in whatever way he can.

    I am SO thankful for passages like Psalm 130:3-4:

    If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?

    But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared.

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    1. Your former pastor is a wise soul, Barbara. The Holy Spirit is quite clear when He is doing His work of conviction. We don't have to guess and wonder. He doesn't fool around or play games with us!

      Praise God for the freedom you've found along the way ... and for the Scripture you've shared with us today

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  8. I'm so thankful for God's amazing grace...a grace which went so far beyond my guilt and shame. Forgave me. Made me new. And with that newness a freedom.

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  9. Whew! Good words today! I especially love this ---> The more in love we are with God, the quicker we'll be able to discern when the Spirit is clearly putting His powerful finger on specific sins in our lives.
    I need to not only turn to God first but have faith that He is good and true. Thank you for hitting home with me today.

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    1. 'He is good and true.'

      Oh yes, Mary, yes! No wonder we love Him so. We can trust His heart, His conviction, His mercy, His forgiveness.

      Delete
  10. I became a Christian as a teenager, and I still feel guilt now and then for actions before I gave my life to Christ.. usually in moments of weakness. The enemy is real, and it's sooooo important to hold onto Gods truth to be renewed and set free DAILY... great post my dear. <3 - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. You said a huge key word, Gingi --> DAILY. Let's hear it for keeping a close connect with the Lover of our souls, let's not wait til our sin and our stuff piles up and threatens to overwhelm us.

      Yearning for renewal with you ...

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  11. Yes we are redeemed! It is a free gift to us, and sometimes I don't take it! God understands how forgiveness works for our benefit which in turn benefits others and builds His kingdom. Blessings to you Linda, for all these wise words again today!

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    1. A free gift. And why would we even think twice about receiving all that He is!

      Redeemed. How blessed we are, how generous He is ...

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  12. God guided me thru my mom's illness and death. Afterwards, I could honestly say I had to regrets. Except now, 9 months later, guilt is popping up at weird moments. And if I entertain the thoughts, it can really get me down. I know I did well but Satan is trying to trip me up and stall my healing process. Guilt is so powerful. This is a good time for your post!

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    1. My hat's off to you and your wisdom in seeing how the enemy wants you stalled in your grieving, dear Valerie.

      I pray that God will continue to comfort you and reassure you of His great love for you even as you remember your mom ... and that in the process, many good memories of your times with her will come flowing back like a healing balm.

      Blessings to your family ...

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  13. Our small group is studying Search for Significance. I would place a bet that your have read it. It does a great job of addressing shame among other things and how the enemy uses them to discourage us.

    Great post, My Friend,
    Blessings!

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    1. Welcome back, Lulu!

      Thanks for the heads up on Search for Significance. I'll be checking it out ...

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  14. When I do stop by for a visit I realize how much I miss your words of encouragement on a more regular basis. I should stop by more often. I hope you are doing well, friend. Blessings, Simply Beth

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    1. God brought you to mind just last week, Beth ... I've been wondering how you are and hoping all is well with you and yours!

      It means so much to hear from you again ...

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  15. Amen! You've done a great job of distinguishing between satan's brand of guilt and contrition over recognized sin. When we replay the first kind, the result is an increase of guilt and shame. When we confess the second kind and ask for forgiveness, it's forgiven and forgotten!

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    1. Amen, Anita. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'

      Praise God that 1 John 1:9 says it all ...

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Dear Reader ~

Technical glitches happen.

* sigh *

Doesn't seem to be a place to leave your comment? Or your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so?

I'd love if you'd email me your contribution ... I'd be delighted to hand post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies. And thanks for the grace ...

Linda