Lingering Guilt & Insulting God’s Integrity

July 31, 2012

What do you do with the person who says: “I’ve asked God to forgive me, but I still feel guilty?”

A noted writer (R.C. Sproul, I think) was asked [this] once.  [His reply:] “Well,  if You still feel guilty, then pray to God again, but this time don’t ask Him to forgive you for the sin that is haunting you. Rather ask Him to forgive you for insulting His integrity by refusing to accept His forgiveness. Who are you to refuse to forgive yourself when God has forgiven you…it is often a very difficult thing to accept the grace of God. Our human arrogance makes us want to atone for our own sins to make it up to God with works of super-righteousness”.

~ Steve Brown

7 Responses to “Lingering Guilt & Insulting God’s Integrity”

  1. David Says:

    Thats a bit harsh. I completely understand what Steve & RC are saying and I agree in principle. But with Grace comes understanding as well. Lots of people struggle with the idea of guilt and issues related to guilt. We all know Jesus forgives period, when we come to the throne of Grace. But lots of times people still struggle with guilt of past or present sin, let alone the consequenses of sin. Somtimes guilt is good when it drives us to God’s Grace and lots of times it’s just a real miss-understanding of the Gospel. Where the Gospel is there is no guilt….. But people need to understand the why’s and how’s of that as well. Lots don’t. So yah, I think Steve & RC are off base on this approach and shows a real lack of Grace, let alone kindness & understanding. Talk about arrogance, thats a good example. Seems like putting others down, in this example for the feelings of guilt is something that many Churches and Christins are good at. Pretty sad.

  2. Dennis Griffith Says:

    It is certainly direct and in your face, but it is not inappropriate. This shows the seriousness of our doubt and lingering guilt. The fact that many struggle with it makes it no less sin. God’s Word & Promises are our standard not our experience. We should not empower our feeling, but instead subject them to the Gospel to kill sin and give life.

    I am not sure what you mean when you say “When the Gospel is present there is no guilt.” The gospel is always present for believers, yet at times I am guilty of sin; other times I may not be guilty of anything new, but because of remorse, etc. I cling to fhe feelings of guilt. At such times I am guilty of not appropriating the Gospel; guilty of exactly what Steve & R.C. say. There is a great difference between saying “Where the gospel is present there is no guilt” and “Where the gospel is present there is no condemnation”.

    It is sometimes grace that leads us to feel the guilt of our actions and unbelief. This is not to condemn, but to reveal our need of grace. But it we reject the application of grace to our heart and emotions, and choose to wallow in our guilt feeling, we are essentially saying that Christ did not sufficiently suffer enough for us, we must add to it by feeling the guilt. This is a serious error – one you rigthtly point out is common. Some do this because they do not realize it is sin to do so. But this statement shows us our sin, which should drive us to the cross. Only when we rest in what Jesus did are we truly set free.

  3. David Says:

    Dennis I agree with what you said. Just to me, I think the in your face approach that Steve and RC took here is a little over the top. Although their position is correct, I think it best to show Mercy and Grace when dealing with people who are beset by guilt and help them with Scriptures that points out the Gospel and how Jesus even takes our guilt away.

    So I’m with you on this. Just pointing out the in your face issues for me is a sad one. I would say a bit of TRish as well.

    As far as saying where the Gospel is ther is no guilt. Said that because jesus in fact took care of that guilt as you pointed out.

    So this is an interesting post and one I think needs to be addressed no question. We habve lots of Christians hamstrung by guilt….I believe. Lost of people guilted by fundamentlism as well. Which is very sad in deed.

    like to see you post other thoughts on this subject some day.

  4. Dennis Griffith Says:

    David, I understand why you may feel that way. But I think we need to be clear that what they are saying is being said to one who is lingering in guilt, not feeling the effects of legitimate guilt. It is intended to jolt the believer who is wallowing, and the rest of us who need to be reminded that sins like adultery, etc. are not the only things that grieve God. Functional unbelief is a serious offense, but it is one that is rarely addressed, despite being the root of much of our behavioral sin. It is hard, but it is necessary – like an intervention. It seems unpleasant, but it is much more compassionate and merciful than enabling the sin through gentleness, and pious encouragement such as “You’re not so bad.” We are far worse than we imagine. But we are loved far more than we would dare dream, or easily accept. This hard word just makes us face that reality, and live in light of it.

    The approach may not be one that should always be employed, but it is better than never employing it.

  5. David Says:

    True…

  6. Dennis Griffith Says:

    I don’t do this a lot, making reference to a different article as a response to comments, but the timing made this seem appropriate. I read an articel this morning by Dane Ortland titled “In Christ I’m Not a Sinner”. In this article Dane does a good job differentiating between actual guilt and our lingering guilt feelings.

    One poignant quote he offers is: “[T]he gospel allows us to bring our subjective guilt feelings in line with our objective guilt eradication.”

    I think this helps us to better see the difference between our lingering sin condition and our faultless status in Christ. It also provides us a process, an action, to mortify both the active sin and the sins related to lingering guilt feelings.

    Check out Dane’s article at the Gospel Coalition: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/15/in-christ-im-not-a-sinner/

  7. Allelyah Says:

    God does not apologize to anyone, so if you are understanding to be apologizing you are existing in an area of God’s activity that is doing something different integrating with human being information inside of a different figurine. The different figurines are ordered by preoccupations or idolotries which you can understand together with sin. A preoccupation is a misunderstood interest. You will never live inside of Jesus and to live inside of something is not unity. You can come out of what you are inside of now that is not allowing you to understand a complete conduction of knowing from God at unity. To come out of those integrating places of activity where you can not see and know complete results in the removal of feelings that are not allowed to be with you eternally. To live in the Kingdom of God is to be understanding a continuous awareness conducted to interesting sights again and again. After the seeing of these sights and the placement of united knowing about them, you are provided to activity and communication that is doing and saying about how an interest relates to God. To understand that “you are human” and as a result you are understandable to be living in sin, either back and forth or anytime you are aware with emotion that is dilapidated, is to have seeing and human being understanding circumstances in the moral separation realm of God moving in and out of your existence according to where you understand to keep going purposeful for reporting on what is unacceptable in this existence area. To pray is to report on yourself or the life around you and God causes an immediate action as a result of this emission. The action is either transformative moving humans and their related always moral circumstances (repositioned to unity from the moral separation area) into perfect unity or God is pressurizing and relaxing (integrating and separating) someone or something that is not allowed to continue to be seen and conducted to activity and communication by the energy life that is hatred at your existence area. Jesus was never provided to be relaxed even while some understand to say he died. It is not able to be understood that way and to understand that he “suffered” is to be very confused about God and God’s control of experiencing. To understand that you will be lifted up and united with God because of a suffering that never happened and a death that never happening is to be blind as a bat to what is God’s whole providership. You can take off the blindfolds when you are no longer bleeding through your holes and use those loin clothes to sure up a continuous vine. A sured up vine stands up and does what is interesting to God now and God causes immediate knowing through an expressive communication that is provided as circumlocutio. Whole vines exist as your continuable interests one after another. The life that is understanding you to awareness now in this place is to be the good branch. You can understand the good branch together with the church when the church understands itself as an continuous understanding area never coming together with pressure or separation. You come together with pressure and separation when there is life at your area that is doing what is not interesting for God to cause to be seen.


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