Why do Christians walk around all the time feeling guilty instead of forgiven?
The truth is, God has given us laws to follow. But I know that as a Christian, I have found myself constantly using those laws to feel condemned (guilty) instead of redeemed (forgiven).
We have found a wonderful church. And this past Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon that truly helped free me from the guilt I often walk around feeling.
I realized that most of our world has a CONSUMER LOVE. This means that we will love you as long as it is working for us. You find a great Chinese restaurant. You will keep going to that Chinese restaurant and singing its praises -- until you find something better. At that point, the original relationship is severed.
Marriage is supposed to be a COVENANT LOVE. This is a love that says, "Even if you are not what you should be, I will be what I should be." Oh if all marriage could live under that statement. But instead, we repeatedly see marriages severed because the love in place is CONSUMER not COVENANT. Our relationship with God is supposed to be a Covenant Love. While we may not always fulfill our end of that love, God definitely does. That means HE LOVES US EVEN IF WE ARE NOT WHAT WE SHOULD BE.
Curb, Dance, Mirror
I realized that God's laws (the 10 commandments) are not in place for me to walk around feeling guilty. They are instead designed to keep me from pain. They are designed to help me live a life of joy!
Our pastor described the laws of God using three vivid pictures that helped me to remember why the Lord asks us to follow His Commandments.
God's laws are in place to provide us with a curb. A curb on the side of the road is there to protect us from destruction. God knows that if we lie, pain will result. He knows that if we steal, pain will result. If we commit adultery, pain will result. So he put laws in place, curbs if you will, to help us from running off course. He put those curbs there to keep us from pain.
Obedience to God's laws are like steps in a dance. When the lyric (no condemnation) of the gospel, becomes a song in your heart, you want to dance! You want to obey! Following the steps creates a beautiful dance.
God's law is a mirror that drives us to Christ. When you look into the law of God, you are getting a perfectly clear picture of God's will for your life. When you look at your reflection in a pond or the faucet on a sink or a warped mirror, you do not get an accurate reflection and can't be sure how you look. But when you look into the law of God, you know what beauty looks like.
Thou Shalt Not
The truth is, when God says THOU SHALT NOT, what he means to say is DON'T HURT YOURSELF BY ____. If we are all being honest, nothing good has ever come from breaking one of the 10 Commandments. Breaking those laws, whether you are a Christian or not, usually results in pain -- for you or for someone else.
Only One Commandment
Our Pastor also argued that truly, there is really only ONE Commandment. If you remember the first Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me then you will easily follow the other 9 Commandments.
And truly, not following numbers 2-10 means we have created an idol that we are putting before God. I
This sermon, truly, reminds us Freedom is not the absence of boundaries. It is found in the presence of the right boundaries. As a parent, I definitely know this. I set boundaries for my little toddling one-year-old all the time. I don't want to hurt her. I just don't want her to get hurt.
Same with God.
Oh to remember that forever!