I don’t want to be a hypocrite

This is the third post in a series on guilt. If you are just joining in, here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

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Here’s the thing, I am struggling through this right now.

In fact, most of what I right about here are the things I am wrestling with. This place is where I have chosen to share the joys, frustrations, triumphs and failures I experience as a Christian.

I’m not an expert. I don’t have it all together. I’m a work in progress.

So when I do a series where I talk about one of those areas I’m progressing in, I feel this pressure to tie it all up in a neat little package. To offer you:

Three Easy Steps to Throw Off Guilt

But then I would feel like a hypocrite, because I’m finding that there’s no easy steps. I can’t give you magic words that will erase the pain you see in someone’s eyes when you let them down. I have no prescription to break up the ball in the pit of your stomach; the one that forms when you’ve stumbled again. I have nothing to offer you.

But God…

He brings freedom. He offers compassion. He gives grace.

So I’ll let Him do the talking, and sit back and listen. I pray that these Scriptures speak to you in the same way God spoke to me through them.

…and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens…But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. Ezra 9:6, 8 (emphasis mine)

 

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (emphasis mine)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (emphasis mine)


Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (emphasis mine)

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away,
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;”
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:3-5 (emphasis mine)

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The only way to shake off the feelings of guilt that can plague us is to acknowledge our sin to Him, to confess, and then receive His forgiveness.

We are forgiven.

We can come boldly.

We must proclaim His mercy over us.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Yes, there will be times when the Holy Spirit convicts us. A scripture, a word of knowledge, a sermon, anything can be used by God to highlight an area in our life where we are straying from His perfect will.

However, the conviction of the Holy Spirit leads to repentance and restoration, not the shame and division that comes from guilt.

We tend to be harder on ourselves than we are on others, or than others are on us. We must learn to accept the grace and forgiveness that God has given us through the work of Jesus on the cross.

Daily, weekly, consistently the process of handing our guilt to God must be repeated. There’s no quick-fix; no insta-millionaire. We walk, lead by the Holy Spirit, the path of repentance and forgiveness.

I’ve shared this video of my husband singing Joseph Hart’s “Come Ye Sinners” before, but I felt like this song so perfectly illustrates the call of God to us.

We all are sinners, saved by grace. In those times of guilt and shame, we need to arise and go to Jesus, so He can embrace us in His arms. And don’t ignore the warning in the song…

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden, bruised and ruined by the Fall. If you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all

Do you find it harder to give grace or to receive grace?

What Scriptures do you turn to when you need to be reminded of God’s grace and mercy?


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24 thoughts on “I don’t want to be a hypocrite

  1. I wait for a good night’s rest instead of taking it to God. The excuse to get a good nights rest and it will be better in the morning, works rarely and I find myself wrestling with the guilt all day. Taking it to Him would work so much better. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Haha! I do this too. Whenever my kids are cranky, I say, “Naptime.” Whenever I’m in a bad mood, I say, “I’m just tired.” Really, I think I’m weary and I need the Spirit of God to revive my soul.

  2. The scripture references made me think of ‘Sola gratia’ (grace alone) since “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephisians 2:8-9
    This is such a powerful and comforting fact, that by God’s grace we are save and His grace is what will help us become the perfect wife we need to be for our husbands (even if that is not the Proverb 31 woman ;)).
    I must say that you picked a perfect time to talk about Grace (right after Reformation Day) :)

    • I have a necklace from Lisa Leonard that says, “By grace alone.” I love it because it reminds me that nothing I do is enough, it’s only by the grace of God. And, I didn’t really know that much about Reformation Day. I just read about it on someone else’s blog. That’s so funny you mentioned it. :)

  3. Hi, I’m Haley, and I’m a Work In Progress.

    I was pondering your question about whether it is harder for me to give or receive grace. This is a tough one for me. Depending on the circumstances, it can be VERY hard for me to receive grace. I tend to be pretty hard on myself. However, I have also learned that I am pretty hard on other people, too, and that the conscious decision to release things to the Lord and give Him my right for retribution–to truly forgive–is something that the Lord is really teaching me. He has given me many opportunities for this in the recent past and as painful as it is to be hurt, it has been wonderful to see how releasing these things to the Lord and letting Him be my comfort and my avenger really takes SO much pressure/stress off of me.

    This balance of giving/receiving grace comes from a deep place for me. I am very critical by nature (of myself and others) and the Lord has been showing me how to focus on the positive side of this characteristic instead of trying to wipe it out (which was proving impossible). Now, I use my “attention to detail” to analyze myself and improve areas I need to work on. I also use my “judgement” to determine how I can be a blessing and minister to people. The Lord has been teaching me to ask Him, “What can I do to love this person?” or “What would be the loving way to respond to this?” rather than jumping to a criticism.

    • Hi, Haley.

      I love the way your mind works. I love that you take something about yourself that you don’t really like, but then look to the positive side of it. Instead of seeing yourself as critical, you’re discerning. Instead of using that discernment to judge others, you use it to see how you can love them. You’re a blessing to those around you, Haley. :)

  4. My hubby and I discussed almost the very same things you wrote about. Especially, guilt-vs-conviction. Guilt blurs. Conviction clarifies.

    I’m so encouraged reading all the Jam posts.

    Thank you for sharing your journey in this area with us.

    God Bless.

    • “Guilt blurs. Conviction clarifies.”

      Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing that, Jeri. I’m just sitting down now to read all of the other Jam posts while my kids nap. :)

  5. I LOVE the passage in Hebrews you mentioned about approaching the throne with confidence. I think some versions say “boldness”. God doens’t wag His finger at us. I don’t have to hang my head in shame, tail between my legs, when I come to Him. My God is so amazing that it is when I am most weak, when I have royally screwed up, when I’m covered in guilt-THAT is when His mercy and grace are sufficient for me. THAT is when He opens His arms, and says, “Come to me. I’ll make something beautiful out of this mess you’ve created. And, BTW, I love you.” You know what else I think is amazing? He calls us to confess our sins to one another, and bring the dark into the light. He doesn’t want us to hide. He wants us to share our sin, so we can recognize our common plight in this world.

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa. I loved seeing all those passages together and the pics were great, too. I’m a work in progress. I love this new song by Addison Road. Not so much about guilt, but about being “under construction.”

    • One thing I love that P. Steve says is that we are hidden in Christ. When God looks at us, all He sees is Christ. He joked one time about what it would be like to see Jesus shyly and reluctantly approaching God’s throne. He said that God would ask, “Why are you walking like that? Just come here.” He likened it to the photo of JFK, Jr. playing under JFK’s desk in the Oval Office. He belonged there and there was no sense of discomfort. That’s how we are to be when we’re at the throne of God.

      Thank you for sharing that video! I’ve never heard of Addison Road and I love that song. :)

      • GASP! You haven’t heard of Addison Road? Well, I guess that just means you’ll have to keep reading my blog to hear about all kinds of amazing Christian artists like Addison Road. LOVE their new album called Stories-all about redemption, grace and mercy and sharing our lives with others, really being in community, oh and forgiveness to. Check it out!

  6. Without a doubt receiving is so much harder than giving grace. I know my junk. I can give others the benefit of the doubt. I can do the right thing for them, but not for me. I wonder when I will learn to rest in the grace that is sufficient for me—for even me!

  7. Melissa, this post was absolutely breathtaking. I have to continually, wearily, drag myself to the foot of His Cross and receive that grace. Daily, sometimes hourly. Guilt is so insidious and it can mask itself as compassion, sympathy, empathy. That’s why we have to cast it off as often as it rears it’s ugly head; and that’s where grace saves us. It doesn’t require us to DO anything but trust in Christ. Trust and grace are two things I have such a difficult time with. I’m learning everyday, and I’m so blessed to have found so many wonderful people (like you!) and resources that are helping me walk to the Cross, to lay my fears and worries at the foot, and to allow Him to embrace me. Thank you for this wonderful series, and your sharing, because it’s really doing amazing things for SO MANY people :)

  8. “In those times of guilt and shame, we need to arise and go to Jesus, so He can embrace us in His arms.”
    Thank you for your words and for sharing those very relevant scriptures.

  9. We’re all broken, we all have guilt and shame and sin, and he loves us anyway. He loved us with a depth and breadth we simply can’t imagine. And he claims us, and says, “You’re mine.”

    Great post, Melissa.

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  11. Wow. This is amazing. How God’s Spirit is speaking to us both as a community and as individuals. How powerful this series you have brewing here. It’s awesome to be connected in community — we are strong together, in our weaknesses — because we are safe in God’s grace! Love your heart, Melissa – it blesses us all!

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