It has been a busier than normal week for us and today is slipping away, so a quick thought to share and then it’s off to the races, yet again.
On the way home from Russ’s class reunion last weekend, we stopped in Des Moines area for the night. On Sunday we decided to attend a church that we have seen from the highway.
First off, let me just say that they were very friendly and welcoming in the best sort of way. The lead pastor was in the lobby, not preaching that day, but he greeted us and said we were faces he did not recognize and wanted to introduce himself.
It is a good reminder to me to be looking for faces in the lobby and introducing myself if I don’t know someone.
But the point of this little visit with your today is more about the sermon.
The teaching pastor talked about guilt and it hit home with me powerfully.
He started the sermon with an amusing take on people who feel guilty all the time. The hyper-guilty, I think he called it.
The illustration he used was when you are driving and you are waiting to turn left and holding up a car behind you. You feel guilty that you are making someone wait and get kind of panicky. Then when you are the one behind someone turning, you feel guilty that you are making them feel panicky and your are wanting to somehow signal them that you are not upset or impatient with them.
I felt exposed.
His point in that and in all the rest of the sermon was that guilt is a feeling that needs to be addressed and then assessed.
Sometimes when we feel guilty, we should.
We have wronged someone but ultimately any wrong against a person or ourselves is a wrong against God.
But sometimes, we have not wronged God.
We are feeling guilty because really we don’t want to not be liked or we are trying to meet some standard we have set up for ourselves and society or a standard, real or imagined, that is being imposed on us by someone or by our culture.
It has given me pause this week as I run into situations that I feel “guilty” and need to apologize to someone or everyone…and I stop and ask myself “What standard and who is imposing it seems to have been broken here?”
There is so much wrong in the world and we can feel guilty if we have not made the concessions that would right the wrong. But some of these are out of our sphere of influence. Some are not and we need to act on reconciliation where needed.
I know this is a quick summary, but I hope you can tag onto the questions that we need to ask ourselves when were feel we have guilt for something. If you are feeling guilty and recognize you have offended God (while offending others) repent, ask for forgiveness from God and seek forgiveness and restoration with the human/humans you have offended.
If the guilt producer is not God, but some standard set by a person (including your own false standard) or group or shifting cultural values that are not lined up WITH God’s standard, then let it go.
What standard did I break?
Who set that standard for me?
God bless you as we wind our way to Friday and the weekend.
See you tomorrow <3