Something I’ve learned as I’ve counseled people through the years is that shame always leads to sin and grace always leads to goodness. Nothing helpful comes from self-condemnation and guilt; rather, righteousness and holiness come from a base of grace, or an understanding that acceptance is not dependent upon behavior. The truth is that being emotionally healthy, grounded, and secure is only possible when we understand that in Christ, we are loved just as we are. God knew we were helpless to help ourselves, so He stooped down to us when we were still sinners and made us righteous by the blood of Jesus. This means that if we’ve said “yes” to our Savior’s redemption, we’ve already attained perfection in His eyes. And while we never want to use this as a reason to go on doing wrong, knowing that we are loved right now should keep us from beating ourselves up and thinking that we’re not worthy. The work was never ours to do — it was His, and when we insist on self-punishment as the price for messing up, we take away from His sacrifice. While we do want to pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s conviction so we can turn around when we’re walking down a wrong road, we don’t want to live in shame, which tells us that we’re rotten, horrible and rejectable at our core. If we stay in a place of defeat and negativity for too long, we’re stripped of the joy and liberty our loving Lord died to give us, and we suffer.
My friend, loosen the grip that guilt has in your life by cultivating a base of grace. No matter how much you mess up or how unworthy you feel, remember that you are accepted in Jesus, and He invites you to trade your shame and condemnation for His compassionate goodness. Your Savior is for you, not against you, and He wants you to inherit the abundant life He purchased when He died on the cross. Receive His mercy to cover all your mistakes, and embrace His perfect love, which gives you power to live in freedom.