Guilt trips: sometimes they come to us from well-meaning people, sometimes from intentionally manipulative people, and sometimes from our very own selves. Living with a deeply ingrained sense of worthlessness and defectiveness, I was particularly vulnerable to guilt trips from the first two sources and particularly plagued with guilt trips from the third.
(“Was.” What a beautiful, past-tense verb! )
My desperation drove me to God – to His Word and to His throne in prayer. There I truly found “grace to help in time of need” and truth that set me free! The following chart summarizes the thought process of my renewed mind when I now encounter a guilt trip from any of those 3 sources:
The truth that only God has the authority to condemn me takes the whole question of my standing out of the hands of the accuser, be it someone else or my own vague feelings, and places it before God where it belongs. The only thing that He condemns is sin. And while the issue in question might not be sinful, I do know that I am a sinful creature, apt to sin by omission or commission without even realizing it!
How can knowing that possibly be helpful, you wonder? Because I also know that Jesus was already condemned for my sin; that He made one sacrifice for sins forever and has perfected forever them that are being sanctified; that there is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus; that when I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness; and that having been justified by faith, I have peace with God! I am neither worthless nor defective in His sight.
I reject condemnation for issues that are not sinful. God’s value system is the one that matters – not that of individuals, nor society, nor even my own sense of acceptability. When necessary, I repent. I keep believing. I keep resting in Christ’s righteousness.
So forget that guilt trip you wanted me to go on – Jesus canceled it!