by Pastor Tim Burt
I am continuing my thought about guilt that I started in Part One Strengthening Relationships and Each Other!
Last time, we talked about guilt. People do not like guilt. They don’t want to live under guilt. And God didn’t send Jesus to get rid of guilt so that we could put each other back under it. He wants us to help people get free from guilt as they live in Him and for Him.
Have you ever blown it as a Christian? More times that you care to admit? We all have! People will blow it and they need to ask forgiveness and make corrections as the Holy Spirit leads them. And one of the greatest blessings in their life can be having someone that they can talk honestly to about it without feeling shamed or lectured but instead knowing they are loved and will have a listening ear and a heart of empathy. This is the process God has given to strengthen and help someone be healed and move forward again and again. Healing is a process and often happens in degrees. And those that love and listen, can play a huge part in the healing process.
The words of James 5:16 (NIV) are powerful and instructive and necessary! They say, “Therefore confess your sins TO EACH OTHER and pray for each other SO THAT YOU MAY BE HEALED. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” This practice is one of the greatest missing gifts leading to growth and strengthening, and the development of strong and blessed relationships in the Christian life.
We are not to put guilt trips on people because they don’t live up to our expectations. We don’t want to look for whom to blame in every situation where something goes wrong. We don’t want to focus on blame at all. Some people are blamers. Something goes wrong and the first thing they do is try to figure out whom they can blame for what’s wrong. If a teenager has gone astray. Is it dad or mom’s fault? Is it the schools? Is it the friends they’re hanging out with? Blaming doesn’t fix things. Listening and learning and discussing and praying together about a better path does. It usually illuminates God’s instructions and wisdom and the opportunity to experience God’s guidance and help! That is where God and His power manifest. So be that person!
When our lives weren’t right and we were covered in our own sins, Jesus wasn’t out to condemn and find blame. He was solution-oriented and He led the way. He took our punishment—the punishment we deserved upon Himself. He showed love and pointed out the right path with answers and solutions through His word—the Bible. Imagine if we were like that. A husband and wife get into a fight and instead of looking to blame each other, the husband just sucks it up and says, Honey, you’re probably right. I’m sorry. What do you think we can do to fix this? Imagine he does this even though he could be right. He’s taken the lead. His heart is saying, Look honey, it’s not important that I’m right and you are wrong. It’s important that I protect my love for you and we just find a solution to this situation. He doesn’t blame. He doesn’t pin guilt. He washes her like Jesus washed us and tries to lovingly move it forward. Or vice-versa, the wife takes that approach toward her husband.
Did you know that the majority of offenses created are unintentional! They didn’t mean to offend nor where they aware of it! Many marriages and friendships are ruined because they focus on the fault of the offense and lay guilt for what each other has done, or is not doing. This is the ongoing process of assigning guilt and blame! It’s much more profitable and God’s way of doing something when we just look to see how to be humble and apologize and fix the wrong and learn what we might do to avoid it in the future.
If you don’t realize this, you need to. Hurt people, hurt people! When you are hurt and bitter and struggling with forgiveness, you are also, (probably unknowingly) hurting others. Hurt people always hurt people. Forgiving people know how to forgive people. They’ve experienced it. They’ve felt the healing of it. Hurt people are mentally and soulishly in cages and can’t stop thinking or talking about the offense. People that have truly forgiven are people that have been set free from the cage and moved forward. Its better when we wash each other’s feet by overlooking offenses and cleanse each other by first reminding how important the relationship is! When this becomes your motivation, you protect the love between each other. Blaming doesn’t solve anything, but forgiving each other does!
Regarding forgiveness, Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) says this, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ forgave you.” And when Jesus spoke these following words, He wasn’t talking about money, He was talking about forgiveness! Luke 6:38-39 (NLT2) “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch.” Did you catch the implication here? When you are in unforgiveness your are blind and in a ditch! So, blame and guilt don’t work! Forgiveness and kindness does.
No matter who you are dealing with, don’t lay guilt on them. Free them up. Help them understand what works better. Wash them with your love and point them in the right direction. Guilt only causes bad feelings leading to avoidance and eventually attitude and behavioral problems. Love and washing guilt away and instead , forgiving—working harder at solutions than at placing blame and fault is much more effective and God’s way of doing things. Can you bring this principle of removing guilt and covering an offense into the workplace? Into your marriage? Into your parenting? The Holy Spirit can teach you how. It’s powerful! It’s freeing! It’s restorative! It’s the God-way and the God-life!
Proverbs 17:9 AMP, says, “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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