Relax…Jesus still likes you

Guilt free day is going pretty well. I’ve had a few moments where I’ve had to quickly course change some thoughts (ex.: “I’m terrib…ly good at that,” etc.). This all sounds very self-help, I know, but the truth is, I don’t see anything in my Bible that says I need to beat myself upside the head for every little thing I do. Like keeping the TV on too long.

A few posts ago I wrote about some weird rules of modern Christian subculture. To that list I add: feel guilty about everything (actually, Alex Koeppen added that in the comments: “If you’re not feeling guilty, you’re not doing it right.” Kudos. It’s so true.).

There is a difference, of course, between feeling bad because you watched too much TV, and feeling bad because you had someone’s spouse killed because you thought they were hot (David, anyone?).

We know when we’ve done something terribly, horribly wrong, or when we are trapped in an addiction that is terribly, horribly wrong. But what if we’re living under a cloud of guilt for no particular reason? Then guilt becomes a tool of the enemy, a constrictor. We asphyxiate under perpetual guilt because we have imposed the expectation of perfection on our every behavior, and as such, we can’t actually DO anything.

Including what God wants for us to do. And isn’t that the point? Satan wants us in a straight jacket. Guilt is the easiest and most practical way to get us there, especially for the most well-meaning of Christians. After all, guilt is humility, isn’t it? I could’ve done more, I could’ve used my time better, I could’ve said more to that person about Jesus but I didn’t for whatever reason and now I SUCK!

But when guilt drives us, we sometimes do more harm than good. What if that person we hung out with on Tuesday was in pain, and didn’t need a sermon? What if the Holy Spirit knew that, and all we were supposed to do at that point was listen and shut up? 

However, guilt could come up and say: “Remember that verse in the Bible that says if you are ashamed of Jesus he’ll be ashamed of you? If you don’t John 3:16 them RIGHT NOW, you’re a bad Christian and Jesus won’t like you anymore.”

But at that point we’re not listening to the Holy Spirit. Just guilt. Enter the straight jacket. So we open our mouths and potentially do more harm than good, because we were more concerned with our Christian duty than actually listening to God. Dangerous.

When God says to speak, by all means speak. But when he says to remain silent, then remain silent.

And don’t sweat it.



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2 responses to “Relax…Jesus still likes you

  1. Sarah, I really appreciated this post. It is easy to fall in to a pattern of guilt, but I feel like it is actually encouraged in a lot of churches. I hear a sermon every other week which drives home the point of “how close you are to God is up to you… only you can choose to spend more time with God.” which isn’t incorrect exactly, but then I leave church feeling crappy that I don’t hear from Jesus, therefore I am doing something wrong. Cue the guilt.

    I think you raise an excellent point about how the Bible does not indicate that we should feel bad for the small things. There have been many times where I feel like a failed human being for staying on the internet an extra hour when I could have been studying, and that pattern of thinking is destructive. Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

  2. You’re welcome…I’m really writing to myself here, too. I do that ALL the time. Hence the guilt free experiment. 🙂
    I think people in churches unconsciously perpetuate this idea, because it’s the way they operate in their own heads. But I think that just makes us ineffective, because, well, it’s hard to enjoy life when you feel like crap.

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