I’ve had three encounters this week with Christians who feel beset by guilt and feeling ineffective in their faith as a result. I used to struggle in this way, and I think it must by common to all followers of Jesus. The first things to to do when these feelings surface is to confess any sin driving your emotions to a fellow follower of Jesus and pray with him or her so that you may be healed (James 5:16). Yes, the area of your soul that generates sin and the area of your mind that generates destructive thoughts can be healed. But if the painful feelings of guilt persist the quickest and most effective way to escape the guilt trap is to read and believe Scripture–listen to what God says instead of the negative voice in your head.
Here are some helpful truths to combat free-floating guilt that remains after you know you have confessed a sin to God and another believer. When you are tempted to believe these lies, listen to the truth instead.
“I have no friends. I’m just doomed to be lonely” truth is that Jesus is an eternal Friend, “Greater love has no man than this—to lay down His life for His friends.” John 15:13
“I’m not worthy” truth is “God so loved me that He gave His only Son so that I can have eternal life” John 3:16
“I’ll never succeed” truth is “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-32)
“I deserve to fail” truth is “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1
“This is too hard and scary—I’ll never be able to prevail” truth is “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind (self-control)” 2 Timothy 1:7
“I don’t deserve love and support” truth is “God loves me with an everlasting love and always live to make intercession for me” Hebrews 7:25 and Romans 8:34
“I’m not good enough” truth is “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and “…whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37)