6. Blockages: Guilt

This blockage has much in common with striving.
They both assume we have to earn God.
But where striving thinks we actually have something to earn him, guilt believes we don’t because we messed up too much.

Guilt is all about feeling undeserving to approach God.
After all He is holy and good.
How can we ever measure up to a perfect God?
Where with striving we put ourselves above him, with guilt we can’t let go of how low and undeserving we are.
But the root is the same.
They’re both based on the assumption that God can be earned.
Which is pride.

How can we as creatures, made by God, ever deserve anything from him?
All our ability comes from him.
He is big, we are small.
No child gets fed and clothed and well taken care of because they did anything for it!
You don’t love your child more when they obey than when they don’t!
However if you are a good parent you do teach your children that their behaviour has consequenses.
Either good or bad.
Not because you punish them out of spite but to teach them wrong and right.
They don’t earn your love and approval though.
This always stays the same.
And we might make mistakes as parents and act out of frustration but I do belief this is how it’s supposed to be and I’m sure you agree.

Yet we expect God to be different.

Because we are not God.
As parents we know very well that just as our children make mistakes from time to time, so do we.
It’s easy to give mercy and forgive if you know that you’re liable to the same things.
You didn’t obey your parents perfectly.
You totally understand that your children have a will of their own and that they are at an age on which they are not able to fully understand everything you ask of them.
Yet they need to obey.
But you understand their struggles in growing up.
And you give them lots of mercy and love even if they don’t deserve it.
You just can’t help yourself because you love them so much right?
That’s the ideal picture anyways.

So why would God be any different?
We are made in his image after all.

Yet we are not altogether wrong in assuming that it’s not exactly the same with God.
His love for us is the same whether we obey or even belief in him or not.
Yet God can’t give us the same mercy as we can give our children.
Not because his love is any less because I believe He loves us way more than we even love our own children.

But we are not God.
And although it’s our job as parents to teach our children certain things, it’s not our job to uphold the universe.
There are certain things that only God can do in a person.
We sure can condition our children in doing the right things but only sofar.
We can’t change their heart.
We can point them to God but only He can actually do something inside of them.
We don’t have to make them pay the full price for their wrongdoing.
We just have to hint to them whether their behaviour is acceptable or not.
And we give them the consequences we feel they need in order to reach that goal.
And there our discipline of them ends.

But how about God?
What does it take for him to teach us what we need to learn?
And how about justice?
God’s love is way bigger than our love and this means it contains aspects we might not understand.
Aspects that our love doesn’t contain.

Read Justice and Forgiveness about why God can’t forgive the way we can.
So that leaves us with guilt.

We cannot possibly measure up to God’s standard of love.
So how do we approach a holy and perfect God?
The answer is the same as for striving:
We accept Jesus sacrifice on our behalf. For our sin.
If we try to appproach God on any other basis, like our own works and behaviour, we’ll always fail.
It’s pure pride in the first place to assume we can get anything from God, including access to his presence, based on what we do.
We have to remind ourselves of his sacrifice for us every time guilt shows up.
We have to remind ourselves that we live through the love of God and not through what we earn.
His love enables us to obey and live holy lives.
We don’t become acceptable to God by living moral lives.
Rather living with good morals is the fruit of accepting his acceptance of us.
We are already loved and accepted through the sacrifice of Jesus.
If we accepted Jesus than God accepts us.
(NB God does not accept us if we don’t receive Jesus sacrifice on our behalf and submit to him.
He still still loves us if we don’t, but He cannot save us then.)

Pride takes credit for what was given or refuses to accept what was given freely and wants to earn it.
And God won’t allow this.
If we do so we take his place.
We take the honor that is only due to him.
The honor of giving life and love.
Without strings.

God is the source of our life and the source of our love and obedience.
If we try to live up to his standards without being tuned in to him and connect with his goodness,
we’ll always fail.
He doesn’t ask us to generate something only He can give!
Only through connection with God can we become like him and live a life that is worthy of him.
Yet his presence in our lives is never earned.
It’s alway given.


What things in your life do you (still) feel guilty about?
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if you don’t know.
Meditate on what Jesus did for you.
Picture him hanging on the cross, realising that it’s your sin and shame He bore.
Remind yourself daily that it’s finished.
The penalty for your sin has been paid.
Past, present and future sin.
You are forgiven!
(don’t even try to pay him back, you can’t…)
Out of thankfulness you’ll want to obey him more.
Never let guilt be your drive to do anything.
Not even obeying God.
He wants our love.
Not slaves.

Be blessed!

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