The Carousel of Self-Condemnation
From 1 John 3:
19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things (emphasis mine)
Our culture is attempting to do away with guilt. If everything we want to do is fine and o.k., then we don’t have to feel condemnation. On the other hand, many find themselves in the opposite situation. These individuals feel guilt or condemnation for things they’ve done for no apparent reason.
The guilt and condemnation generally comes from the home environment they were raised in. I say “generally” because there are other sources of guilt and condemnation. The world, the flesh and the Devil all attempt to undermine the reality of the redemption Christ has completely won for you (and me). In fact, like a rut in the road, it is easier for the unholy trinity to manipulate you into feeling guilty because you are used to the feeling from your past home life.
We might find ourselves saying in our heart, “why did I do that?” or, “that was stupid”, or “I feel so bad”, or “I am so embarrassed by”. Or, even worse, to attribute our qualities to these issues by saying “I’m a failure”, or “I’m so stupid”, or “I’m worthless”. These statements represent the hidden internal struggle of people who carry guilt and condemnation. Self-condemners overemphasize the weight of their own sin to the point that no savior could fix the damage they’ve done.
This is an absolute lie. Paul writes to Timothy this precious jewel: 1 Tim.15; “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners …” This was written by a man who was the leading enemy of Christ at the time. He actually did things that were worthy of guilt and condemnation. Yet, he received utter mercy. Notice how he follows up his statement, “among whom I am foremost of all. 16Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
The wickedness of self-condemnation and self-inflicted guilt is that it is not the work of the Holy Spirit to speak with a still small voice. It is the anthropocentric effort at emotional self-flogging and suicide. The effort, itself, is a work of the flesh.
It can only be interrupted by a cross. Instead of trying to “pay for our own sin”, and self-sanctify, Christ has come to crucify. He came to become sin. He came to take all your sin, even the misplaced self-condemnation and guilt you heap upon yourself. And, He has already taken it on in His body. He took on all of your sin so He could receive the full wrath and punishment of God for it in your place. The sinless took your self condemnation and guilt and became sin for you. Not an image of sin, nor a symbol of sin, but the embodiment of your sin. And was crushed by the Father for this exchange.
He has already accomplished your redemption. He continues to accomplish your salvation. He has not and will not abandon you though you and I are like dogs who return to the vomit of our own sinful self-assessments. Christ has given you objective justification in exchange for subjective self-evaluation. You have been forgiven all, all of your sins without reservation by His complete and total sacrifice. And, He will never reject you, because “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” both now and forever. Amen.