Are you driven by guilt? Are you running from your past, hiding the shame, and have so many regrets that the memories keep you in constant misery? If you answered yes then I am here to tell you, you are not alone.
But what if I told you, you don’t have to live that way anymore? Would you believe me?
Unfortunately, more people than not are driven by guilt which is sabotaging any success in life they could have.
When you allow guilt to drive you, you are allowing your past to control your future. Let’s take a look at some people in the Bible and look at their outcomes.
Cain is a prime example of someone who was driven by guilt. Cain became angry when God gave favor to his brother Abel in Genesis.
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. – Genesis 4:3-5
God actually warns Cain that if he doesn’t do what is right sin will rule over him. In other words he will be driven by guilt of his sin.
Cain wanted to be killed by whoever found him. But God said otherwise and put a mark on him so that he would be driven by his guilt and live a long life. This was a consequence of him refusing to take responsibility for what he had done to Abel.
Moses on the other hand, who was also a murderer became a leader. And what about Gideon who was known as a coward? He became a courageous hero.
Why did God use Moses and Gideon and not Cain? Because Moses and Gideon confessed their sins and where no longer driven by guilt.
What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.- Psalm 32:1-2
Struggling With Guilt
Struggling with guilt is something I have dealt with for many years. Although I am no longer driven by guilt it used to run my life.
Past sins haunted my dreams, my thoughts, and even my emotions. There was a time I was so depressed that I watched The Pursuit of Happiness more than twenty times in one week.
Worries about how I would pay my bills controlled me. Instead of looking for a job I made excuses.
Instead of dealing with my past I covered it up with a blanket of tears.
Resentment and anger eventually found its way into my heart and buried itself so deep it caused me to clam up and hate the world.
Bitterness ate at my heart daily causing me to not take responsibility for where I was. Instead I blamed the world and anyone who crossed my path.
Captured by fear and driven by guilt, I was living in my own prison with-in myself. It was a horrible way to live.
I constantly looked for approval and acquired a desire for material items that became my life goals.
Facts About Guilt
There are some facts about guilt that you should know and be aware of. When you are driven by guilt you become shameful. As humans we tend to try and hide the shame out of fear.
However by doing this and not facing the guilt we act in the following ways:
- Attack other people – in an attempt to lift ourselves up by bringing others down
- Seek Power and Perfection – power and perfectionism makes us feel more valuable however this is only short term and ends up hurting us worse
- Blame Others – avoids guilt and shame but ends up backfiring and doesn’t work
- People Pleaser – this is a self-defeating action that only covers up the true feelings and guilt
Christianity Guilt Trip
For many new believers a Christianity Guilt Trip is something many experience. Even for Born Again Christians like myself.
Instead of getting to the root of the problem we tend to cover it up with tears, alcohol, drugs, lies, and whatever else works.
It is not healthy to be driven by guilt, especially as a Christian. Otherwise you will never truly experience God’s love for you. Nor will you ever see the plans He has planned for you.
Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them. – Rick Warren
For myself the guilt that was driving me was past sins of sexual intercourse with men I wasn’t married to. Drunken nights that often involved a few lines of cocaine. And even stealing.
Although I quit doing all of these things and turned my life around and gave it to the Lord I still suffered. And I suffered daily.
So much that even after I was re-born I retreated back to my old ways. I was looking for something to fill the hole in my heart to cover the pain of past sins.
Sex just happened to be the thing that made me feel better but only for a few short moments. Then the guilt of what I just did would kick in full force causing me to retract back even deeper back into my shell.
Instead of taking responsibility for where I was, I blamed others, I blamed the world.
The guilt was so bad that gratitude didn’t exist in my world. I was grateful for nothing and nothing anyone did was ever good enough.
It was a miserable way to live. At least until I finally found my way and stopped being driven by guilt.
Read My Story Here about How An Attitude Of Gratitude Changed My life
There are 5 steps you can take right now to overcoming guilt. You must remember though that only you can make the choice to overcome guilt and no longer be driven by it.
To stop being driven by guilt follow the steps below.
- Take 100% Responsibility for where you are right now. You must understand it was your choices and actions that got you to where you are. Did your car break down? Did you keep up on your oil changes? Are you miserable in your job? What have you done to find a job you will love? Overweight with diabetes? Are you eating junk food and fast food? Are you exercising? Have you ever stopped to think about the consequences of your actions?
- Stop Playing The Blame Game. Everything that happens to you is because you brought it upon yourself. You will forever be driven by guilt if you continuously blame others and not take responsibility. Have you ever noticed you get more of what you focus on? Both good and bad.
- Forgive yourself and Forgive others. You will never move on in life and experience God’s true love until you forgive yourself and others. God forgives us and He expects us to do the same. When you are driven by guilt it is because you are not forgiving yourself and in some cases someone else.
- Ask For Forgiveness and Repent. Earlier in this post we discussed how God used Moses and Gideon but didn’t use Cain. This exact process could be playing out in your life as you read this. Or maybe someone you know. God will NOT use you if you never repent and confess your sins to Him. By doing this we show God that we acknowledge that we were wrong and we want to be better. We want to be more like Jesus.
- Show Gratitude. Showing gratitude will change your entire world. It can change an outcome and it will change your life. In my journal Journaling Time With Jesus there is a section strictly for Gratitude. This helps to keep your mind focused on the good and not the bad. After all Good always overcomes Evil.
If you are driven by guilt take the steps above and pray that God will lead you. The journey won’t be easy but you don’t have to do it alone either. In Deuteronomy 31:8 God says that He will never leave nor forsake us. He also tells us not to be afraid or discouraged.
If a wretch like me can overcome guilt so can you!