The Source of Guilt


The Lord condones sorrow that leads to repentance, but He doesn't condone guilt.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 

I once read a survey that asked 500 people what emotions they felt when experiencing guilt. The answers were heartbreaking. Respondents reported feeling punished, depressed, worthless, rejected, and isolated. Many were overwhelmed by a general sense of low self-esteem. There was no joy, no hope, and no vitality. In a sense, it was as though the feelings of guilt had completely blotted out everything else in their life. 

This seems like such a sad way to exist, and yet it’s safe to assume that we all—even those of us who are believers—have experienced these exact same emotions. In fact, you may be dealing with intense guilt right now. If so, let’s consider one simple question: Where does it come from?

In 2 Corinthians 7:10, we see two forms of guilt. One is a sorrow that comes from God. This call to repentance is a tool the Lord uses to draw unbelievers to Himself through salvation in Christ. It also motivates believers to confess any wrongs causing “interference” in their fellowship with Him. 

A second form of guilt is the dark emotion that plagues people with remorse and the reactions mentioned on the survey. Such sorrow isn’t from God at all, but from the world. 

If you’ve received Jesus’ free gift of salvation but still struggle under the assault of guilt, let Scripture assure you: These feelings didn’t come from God. He is not attacking you. Rather, He holds the keys to your freedom. Don’t fall victim to the enemy’s lies. In Christ, you are forgiven and free. Lay down your chains today.

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