A Lie Guilt Tells Us

One of the most devastating snares the devil lays for followers of Jesus is guilt – guilt fully loaded with shame.

It is these feelings of guilt and shame that convince us that we cannot talk to God, listen to God, or relate to God in any way. Shoot, we’re probably not even worthy to talk about him in any real way. He is good. We are bad. Best just to keep our distance.

When the devil lays the trap of guilt and shame for us most Christians will respond by feeling like we better fix our selves, get our crap in order before we go to God for the finishing touches. We know God forgives, but we’re pretty sure we need to go 90% of the way and God can do the 10%.

And this is right where the devil wants us: trying to make ourselves 90% good while keeping God at arm’s length until we’re there. He knows 2 things. First, we’ll never make it to 90%. Second, the guilt and shame of not making it to 90% will keep us away from God. It’s a wicked, self-propagating trap.

But such guilt is built on a lie, a lie of chronology. Guilt tells me that something must happen for me to be close to God. There is something that needs to be fixed, an occurrence that needs to happen or else I can’t talk to God or listen to him or learn about him. This isn’t reality.

Reality is that everything that needs to be done for us to be close to God has been done, for 2,000 years. Jesus finished it with his death. His resurrection sealed and proved it. Verbal Kint got it wrong. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled wasn’t convincing the world he doesn’t exist; it was convincing the world that the resurrection doesn’t exist. Jesus paid the price and conquered all the guilt and shame with which Satan is armed.

Guilt lies. There is nothing left to be done for us to be right with God. Just turn to Jesus and come to God in his name. Jesus did it once and it’s done for all time. Just claim his victory and come to God for forgiveness. There is no 90% for us to do. There is 0% for us to do since Christ has done the 100%.

I live in the Nashville area and spend my days helping churches with leadership development. My nights are spent writing and rooting for Minnesota sports teams. I also podcast a bit. I'm the author of The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith, and The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life