Did you know that there is a guilt that leads away from God?
In Henri Nouwen‘s daily devotional called “Show Me the Way” he speaks about two kinds of guilt; one that leads you to God and one that sends you away. He says…
There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but rather to self-preoccupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says: “I am too sinful to deserve God’s mercy.” It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride.
…The question is: “Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not believe in God’s mercy any longer and hanged himself, or are we like Peter who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins?”
The Peter/Judas contrast is striking to me. Peter went on to lead the church. For some reason he was able to tap into the true essence of God’s mercy and forgiveness and it was life changing. But Judas let his sin and guilt crush him.
How do you handle your guilt? Does it lead you to God or away from him? My prayer for you is that you, like Peter, might find God’s life changing mercy and forgiveness for your past and rise to fulfill your God-given purpose.