For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Psalm 25:11
I heard the conversation in a hair salon. A young mother was relieved that plans she had agreed to had fallen through because her daughter was sick. She was clear that she was not glad her daughter got sick, just glad that she had a good excuse not to follow through with plans she had not wanted to do in the first place.
She was guilt-free because she had a good excuse.
As I listened, it was evident that this was nothing she was obligated to agree to in the first place. She said she didn’t know how to say “no,” thinking the other person would have piled on the guilt if she had refused. Why do we feel more guilty about not meeting the expectations of an acquaintance than we do about not meeting the expectations of God’s Word?
The Gravity of Guilt
Considering what is happening in the world, I am amazed at my own guilt before God. 50 million babies have been killed in America and I stand by and do nothing. I sit on social media and see God’s name maligned and mocked and I move on without comment. I hear my own, unsaved friends, use the Lord’s name in vain. I cringe, but I am quiet. Christians “reason” why they will vote for Trump or Hillary and I am speechless.
Matthew 22:29 says, “But Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.’”
Perhaps I do not recognize the full gravity of these failures before God, but I do know what His Word says about these things. I fail Him anyway.
Why do we fail God without feeling guilty, but fear the guilty feelings of letting other people down? Who am I considering when I act – or fail to act? Myself? Someone else’s feelings? Or, God?
Fearing Man or Fear God?
As a Christian, I hear many more conversations about what some other person thinks than I do about what God thinks. We let the indignation of people spur us to action before we even consider the anger of God.
I am not saying we should not consider other people in the decisions we make. We are to love one another, serve one another, and encourage one another. It is not encouraging or loving to “guilt someone” into doing things our way.
When experiencing guilty feelings, we should consider where the guilt comes from. Is it God or is it man?
We love our neighbors but we should love God more. If we love Him we will obey His commandments.
What is it that you are feeling guilty about today? Is the guilt the consequence of the conviction of sin or the feelings of judgment from another person?
Bottom line: Whom do you fear?