I was listening to Songza one day, a song app much like Pandora except better, when No Condemnation by Anthony Evans came on. The song didn’t really grab my attention initially. I was more so passively listening to it as I was preparing my things to leave from work. It wasn’t until the voice of a woman delivering a short message came on that this song had my full attention. She said,
“One of the main ways that the enemy will paralyze, and disable, and disarm the people of God is to put a burden of guilt and shame on them, but the weight of our sin it’s no longer ours to bear. Our savior took it all, he paid the full price on Calvary and the enemy knows that if you ever really grab ahold of that truth, you’ll really be victorious. And here’s the truth, there is therefore now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. So be free my friend, be free.”
This was the first time that this scripture had really penetrated my spirit because at that moment I realized that I had been living and struggling with guilt that was paralyzing me. This guilt had robbed me from fully enjoying a sexual relationship with my husband in the beginning of our marriage. This guilt caused to me cut myself and burn myself and beat myself up mentally over and over. This guilt caused me to have a nervous breakdown because I felt like a horrible wife. This guilt aided in me going on a five day trip to the psych ward. Guilt was destroying my self-worth, my self-esteem, and my life and it wasn’t until that very moment that I had realized that enough was enough.
I realized in that moment that I am not a perfect person; I’m never going to be. I’m going to make mistakes, I’m going to hurt people, I’m going to let people down, I’m going to disappoint people, I may even make someone angry, and while I should feel a sense of guilt when I hurt someone, that doesn’t mean that I have to carry that guilt around. I finally understood that the only purpose of guilt is to help bring me to the realization that I did something wrong so that I can see how to fix it or apologize. After that, guilt has done its job and it’s time to move on whether the person I hurt and tried to apologize to moves on or not.
I also realized that guilt was the main thing keeping me a people pleaser and keeping me from really being myself. I was always afraid of hurting people and letting them down, and whenever I did I would beat myself up for it which caused me to tear myself down. That’s how I had convinced myself that I was not a good wife because I seemed to always be doing things to let my husband down and he seemed to have no problems letting me know all of the different ways I was letting him down. My husband is a very expressive person so it was very natural for him to always tell me what I did and how it made him feel. What I had to learn was that just because I was making a lot of mistakes or doing things he didn’t like didn’t mean that I was a bad wife and that didn’t mean that he was calling me a bad wife. That just meant I needed to reevaluate myself and see whether I needed to make a change or stand up for myself.
Hearing that song, No Condemnation, was so pivotal for me because I had finally internalized that Jesus had died for all of the guilt that I was needlessly carrying around. For some reason I thought that Romans 8:1 was only in reference to sins that we commit or have committed in the past that we feel guilty for, but that scripture can also be used for the little things that we feel guilty for now.
There is absolutely no reason we should have to walk around holding on to guilt when Jesus died to take away our guilty stains, and as the lady in the song said, any guilt and shame we’re still holding on to is used by Satan to keep us stuck right where we are in the land of guilt.
Being stuck in the land of guilt keeps us from being able to move forward from the things that we did. Guilt says that because you made one selfish decision you’re a selfish person and you should feel horrible and should never do another thing for yourself because if you do then you’re just selfish. It’s like a never ending vicious cycle.
Realizing what Jesus did on the cross for me helped me to break that cycle. Yea I’ve made some selfish decisions, but I’m not a selfish person because that is not who God created me to be. Yea I’ve made some bad decisions, but that doesn’t make me a bad person, it just means that I’m human and I make mistakes.
If you realize that you’ve been holding on to past mistakes or things that people said about you that made you hold on to guilt, I pray that you’ll really internalize Romans 8:1 and allow it to completely set you free the way it did me. You are not the negative things people say about you to make you feel bad, or the bad the decisions that you’ve made, but who God says you are; fearfully and wonderfully made, completely justified by the blood of Jesus Christ. So be free my sister, be free.
Givin’ It To You Straight,
Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Have you ever found yourself living in the land of guilt? How did you move to a place of freedom and forgiveness of yourself?