I Carry Around Unbearable Guilt and Cannot Seem to Get a Handle on it. Is There Any Hope for Me?
I read your articles on psychology and the Christian faith. Unfortunately, they succeeded in making me feel worse than I already do. I carry around unbearable guilt and cannot seem to get a handle on it. Is there any hope for me?
The greatest sorrow is not being able to forgive yourself. You say you feel worse now than ever. That is because you are carrying a load you were never intended to carry.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. For I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Your feelings are so strong about yourself you cannot get beyond them. Could it be because your view of God is small? If God can forgive you, why do you feel you are more powerful than God? Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It doesn’t say “very little” or “not much at all” but it says NO condemnation. Isn’t that incredible! This brings me to my knees in awe and reverence for a Holy God who would have anything to do with me, a sinner. When I came to Christ he let me out of prison. But he didn’t stop there. He then lavished upon me “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” (I Peter 1:3) It starts with Him and it ends with Him.
If God doesn’t condemn you then why do you think you have the right and power to condemn yourself? When you say you can’t forgive yourself what you’re really saying is I can’t let go of these negative feelings and emotions I have. I will hang on to this forever. Notice how many times the word “I” comes up? “I” should have been stronger. “I” should not have let them do this to me. “I” have forsaken God and all “I” hold dear. You’re right. Take responsibility for your sin but then take it to the cross where it belongs and where it is now forgotten! “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:10-12)
How far is the east from the west? Far enough that you can’t find them! So quit looking! When you’re focus is on how you feel instead of who God is you will always lose. It’s a downward spiral. And Satan loves to keep you stuck. He doesn’t want you free from guilt, because then God could use you for kingdom purposes.
I would challenge you to read the last four chapters of Job over and over again. This gives a magnificent picture of the greatness of God. Then imagine that the great God of the universe is still interested in me and you.
I long for you to know the deep love of Christ. He will never leave you or forsake you. It is only as you see Him for who He is will you be able to take your eyes off yourself and believe what he says.
I’m reading a life-changing book right now called When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Ed Welch. I would highly recommend it.
Kathy Norquist works in Ministry Development for Eternal Perspective Ministries, and is also on the EPM's Board of Directors. She was Randy’s executive assistant from 1997-2015, and was also previously one of his secretaries when he was a pastor.