Should a Christian Feel Guilt?
1 Samuel 16:14 – Saul had been repeatedly disobedient and God’s favor left him. Saul began to be mentally tormented. I will speculate to say this was due to a lack of repentance resulting in built-up guilt.
Several years ago, a counselor at a Disciple Now weekend was sharing with us adults how well his last session had gone. How he told the kids God doesn’t want you to feel guilty. He loves you. Now my friend and I knew the group of kids he had shared that with were into some fairly heavy things they shouldn’t be, and we were appalled at what this guy had just told them. We felt like six months of work had been undone in a few moments.
We can come up with all kinds of reasons and ways to avoid repentance and that awful feeling a true Christian feels before they repent, but none of it will ever last. Matthew Henry says this:
Music, diversions, company, or business, have for a time often been employed to quiet the wounded conscience; but nothing can effect a real cure but the blood of Christ, applied in faith, and the sanctifying Spirit sealing the pardon, by his holy comforts. All other plans to dispel religious melancholy are sure to add to distress, either in this world or the next.
Does God want his people to feel guilty? Certainly not…after he forgives us. But we should be grateful for the torment we can feel that is meant to drive us to repentance. Scripture never tells us Saul repented. His torment just got worse. After a while even David’s harp playing didn’t help.
I think the problem is that people confuse conviction with condemnation. As Christians we should be glad that the Holy Spirit convicts us when we sin. God doesn’t want us to live in condemnation, which is the guilt and shame after we have been forgiven. but conviction is the loving correction from our Father and we should welcome that. 🙂
absolutely, very well put!