This, my friend, is false guilt
by: Submitted photo PETER and TONI DePAOLI

You were up all night, tossing and turning over a situation, wracked with emotional turmoil that you just can't shake. You finally get to sleep, though it feels like it's under a cloud of dread, only to slumber for a few minutes and then awake so that the ruminating could start all over again.

Your mind continually reviews the details and exaggerates the 'what-ifs' until you can't find rest.

In the scope of world events, this situation might be relatively small. In fact, it's possible that no one would even know you were involved. And still you are plagued with the 'woulda-coulda-shouldas.' Why?

You may tell yourself that you did the right thing, even though it was hard; maybe you did something and now are afraid that, even though it was right, it was misunderstood; maybe you were just dealing with a difficult person who, no matter what you said or did, would turn the situation around to blame you. In all scenarios, the 'what-ifs' in your head will not keep silent.

This, my friend, is false guilt.

During discipleship counseling sessions, I often ask this question: 'When you get to sit face to face with Jesus one day, what do you hope that He will say about how He feels about you? Actually, most think he'd comment on their performance. They respond, 'He'll say, 'You were a good servant.''

I'll say, 'I don't want His commentary on what you did. I want to know how He feels about you.' We have to whittle. They'll say something vague, 'He is glad I'm there.' Whittle some more. Ultimately, we get to the crux: 'I want Him to say that He loves me.'

For people with false guilt, the answer has a bit of a twist that will often bring tears to their eyes. For them, what they ultimately want to hear Jesus say is, 'You are worth loving!'

See, in general, if someone doesn't like me, it's not pleasant, but it is his issue more than it is mine (unless I've truly done something to cause it). But if I, myself, am unlike-able, or unlove-able, then it becomes a character flaw in me. I am unacceptable, a misfit. For lack of a better term, I am a mistake of creation best left ignored.

When God created the heavens and the earth, He said, 'It is good.' What would He imply if He said, 'It is good enough?' It would indicate that some part of creation is unacceptable. At its core, people with a stronghold of false guilt believe that they never do things good 'enough' and, in essence, it is because they believe that they aren't 'enough.'

They continually wait for the other shoe to drop, which clouds their ability to feel completely content with a situation or even with themselves. They have a hyperactive conscious that never lets them rest and creates a prison of their own making.

Ps. 142 tells us that God can remove our souls out of prison. When we are overwhelmed, God can realign our thoughts, actions and emotions with His will. This then opens the door for the God of grace to mend our hearts and to mend relationships with His truth.

(If you would like to participate in discipleship counseling and discover the 'how to' in the article above, contact the ministry at the website or number provided.)

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