Guilt is a Killer


Guilt is a killer.

When our dog Tekarra would empty the contents of the waste bin onto the family room floor, searching for scraps of food, she would announce her guilt. Cowering, her physical expressions looked like someone caught in death’s grip. Head down, tail between legs, slinking away, a trail of piddles marked the line of her departure.

And when I would reprimand her, ‘Tekarra what have you done?’, she would freeze in absolute misery, with squinty eyes averting my gaze. You would think she had been sentenced to death (…or, at least, ‘life without treats’)!

But then, I would break the tension. I would say something like ‘it’s okay’. And, the moment she heard those words of pardon, she would erupt into spasms of ecstasy:  wriggling, whining, jumping on me, slobbering on me, expressing the unbridled joy of being relieved of guilt.

Guilt is a killer, but relief from guilt is sheer ecstasy.

For us humans, guilt really is a killer. It simmers below the surface. It eats away at our hearts. It wounds us incessantly, riddles us with insecurity, and causes us to withdraw. It drains us of joy and peace and hope and contentment. It shuts down our humanity. It leads us into the darkest despair, so that we wonder whether life is worth living. Eventually, left untreated, our guilt will kill us.

Except, when we confess our sins to God. Then, God’s Son, Jesus, takes the guilt, and it kills him instead. That is the day of our salvation: we walk away as white as snow. And the relief can make us erupt into ecstasy! (perhaps without the slobbering.)

Is guilt killing you, making your life a pale reflection of what God created it to be? Well, God wants to re-create your life. He wants to wash and transform your heart. Dump your guilt at the cross, and Jesus will truck it away, never to be seen by your eyes again. Hear his words of pardon!

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5: 6-11)

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