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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Not Guilty! — A Relationship Enhancer

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


People hate to feel guilty. We really do. We push guilt aside, we bury guilt and we will try to do any and everything we can to get rid of guilt. People just plain hate guilt. The problem is, if a person doesn't know the Lord, they can never get rid of guilt. Oh they may try. They may suppress their feelings about guilt. They may bury them. They may try to drown them in alcohol or drugs or some other way. But the spirit of a man knows when it is not clean before the Lord. When the spirit of a man is not free from sin, guilt is present. Guilt feelings can create defensive attitudes, lead to dysfunctional thinking and behaviors, and send life spiraling off course! That's why it is so imperative to be free from it.

God wants to free us all from that guilt and pain. The following three verses reveal this truth in the most powerful way! First we see that God is not out to get us, but to save us. John 3:17 NIV says, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." He isn't out to get us or bring condemnation (which means, Found guilty.) To the contrary, He wants to wash our sins away!

Secondly God has proven His love for us while we were still in a sinful state. That's how great His love is for us! Romans 5:8-9 NIV says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by the sacrifice of His death and blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Jesus Christ!"


Third, God had a plan in place called JESUS to rescue us from guilt and condemnation and to make us blameless BEFORE He ever created the world! Mind-blowing but true! Ephesians 1:4 NIV “God chose us to be in Jesus before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and WITHOUT BLAME before Him in love...”

You see God isn't looking to point the finger. He isn't looking for condemnation and guilt. He says we have been justified, through our faith! You've been declared Not guilty! And that is His gift from Himself to us. We are saved from wrath!  When a person repents  and turns from their sins and receives Jesus as their Savior, the Lord immediately removes sin and guilt and makes them blameless. This is a gift and miracle that no human being is worthy of, yet God out of His love had this plan in place from the beginning! Now, having said that, let me get to today's point.

God didn't send Jesus to get rid of guilt so that we could put each other back under it. He wants us to help people get free from guilt. Receiving Jesus is a miraculous step with instant results—the promise and gift of eternal life. Learning to live the Christian walk is a process. Everyone is in a different place in that process. No one is perfect and some are more messed up than others. (Should we talk about your shortcomings?) People will blow it and they need to ask forgiveness and try to make things right when we do. But, we don't want to put guilt trips on people because they don't live up to our expectations. We don't want to look for whom to blame in every situation where something goes wrong. We don't want to focus on blame at all. Some people are blamers. Something goes wrong and the first thing they do is try to figure out whom they can blame for what's wrong. Is the country in chaos? Is it the President's fault? A teenager has gone astray. Is it dad's fault or is it moms, or is it the schools or maybe the friends they are hanging out with?

When our lives weren't right and we were covered in our own sins, Jesus wasn't out to condemn or find blame. He was solution-oriented and He led the way. He took our punishment we deserved upon Himself. Then He showed love and pointed out the right path and the answer and solutions through His word
—the Bible. Imagine if we were like that. A husband and wife get into a fight and instead of looking to blame each other the husband just sucks it up and says, Honey, you're probably right. I'm sorry. What do you think we can do to fix this? Imagine he does this even though he could be right. He has taken the lead. His heart is saying, Look honey, it's not important that I'm right and you are wrong. It's important that I protect my love for you and we just find a solution to this situation. He doesn't blame. He doesn't pin guilt. He washes her like Jesus washed us.  

Many marriages are ruined because they focus on faults and lay guilt for what each other has done, or is not doing. It's much more profitable and God's way of doing something when we just look to see how to fix the wrong and learn what we might do to avoid it in the future. Its better when we wash each other's feet by overlooking offenses and cleansing each other. When this becomes your motivation, you protect the love between each other. Blaming doesn't solve anything, but forgiving each other does!

The same goes with children. Don't lay guilt on them. Free them up. Help them understand what works better. Wash them with your love and point them in the right direction. Guilt only causes bad feelings leading to avoidance and eventually attitude and behavioral problems. Love, instruction, correction when necessary, washing and forgiving—working harder at solutions than at placing blame and fault is much more effective and God's way of doing things. Can you bring this principle of removing guilt and covering an offense into the workplace? Into your marriage? Into your parenting? The Holy Spirit can teach you how. It's powerful!

Prov 17:9 says, “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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