Sherri Tilley

Free Yourself from Guilt and Receive Abundant Forgiveness

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom from shame and liberation from an utterly defeated enemy.

Free Yourself from Guilt and Receive Abundant Forgiveness | by Sherri Tilley

© Posted 10/15/20 | Photo by Scott Tilley | Sherri Tilley | Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala | Dallas, TX

I still remember the life-altering moment like it was yesterday. Soft rays of sunshine filtered through classroom windows as I approached the large wooden desk and submitted my completed assignment to the overly stern substitute teacher. As I timidly stood waiting for her impending verdict, my eyes began to casually wander toward an array of desktop items including a grade book, a stack of student papers, a much-used pencil sharpener, and a small vase of artificial flowers. Then, quite unexpectedly, my peripheral vision seemed to narrow into surreal pinpoint focus as I noticed a little piece of yellow paper solely inscribed with six short words penned in bold black ink. Clearly written on the note was my first name and last name followed by the words ... is a bad girl.

I was taken aback and remember feeling puzzlingly stunned as I stared at the note for a few moments before turning my gaze to the teacher who was still busily evaluating my worksheet. As a painfully introverted young girl, I could not even begin to imagine the origin of thought or motive behind the words. Where did the note come from? Who wrote it? And, most importantly, what in the world had I done to elicit such an accusatory sentiment? Nonetheless, there it was, lying right there on the teacher's desk, completely blindsiding me and packing a wallop of profound condemnation on my impressionable young mind. Eventually, I slowly returned to my desk and sat down feeling far too intimidated to speak a word about the unsettling incident. Instead, I contained the unwarranted sense of personal culpability down deep within my heart and lacked the basic wherewithal to facilitate its escape. And so this underlying sin consciousness remained inside me for decades as I increasingly began to wonder, Is God mad at me?

This question is not a new one. From the beginning of human existence, the crucial relationship between God and man has been the basic foundation at the very core of life itself. It is through the knowledge of an all-loving Creator that we are able to determine our immense value, personal identity, and individual purpose. But what happens when there is a disruption in the communion between God and man? Ever since Adam made the original argument that it was Eve who caused him to eat the forbidden fruit, human beings have attempted to dodge the act of accepting responsibility for their immoral behavior. Why? Because we know without a doubt that our God is holy, perfect, and pure and that we all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, KJV). We know that restitution is required for our misdeeds, and we are woefully inadequate to provide it. As a result, this realization has sometimes caused us to detach from the intimacy of a spiritual connection with a loving Father as we attempt to alleviate the pain of underlying guilt by busying ourselves with distracting activities or searching for some meager type of pseudo-justification through self-righteous works. Sooner or later, however, the misguided notion that God is a vengefully harsh, dictatorial taskmaster inevitably leads to disillusionment, depression, and despair.

So what can be done to deal with our guilt so that we may be reconciled to the one true God who is the very personification of unending love, boundless grace, and unshakable faithfulness? Through His immeasurable lovingkindness, God has already done the work to reconcile us to Himself through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. He has gloriously provided the ultimate exchange by taking on the punishment for all of our sins so that we are ransomed back to Him and thus no longer face eternal separation as an inevitable consequence of our wrongdoings. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) because where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20). So despite the introduction of sin into the world by Adam, we are graciously given the right to be partakers of the abundant rewards provided by the sinless life of Jesus Christ since it is written by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (Romans 5:19). Therefore, ridding ourselves of the stain of sin, no matter the depth or degree, is as simple as accepting His liberating gift of unlimited, irrevocable, all-encompassing forgiveness that is freely available for the taking. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom ... freedom from guilt, freedom from shame, and freedom from the bondage of an accusing enemy that has been utterly defeated once and for all.

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