Guilt: A Reason to Dismiss Christianity
In an entry in The Journal Keeper Phyllis Theroux concluded that, “. . . it was the guilt-inducing aspect of Christianity that felt so wrong,” for her. (Page 121-122)
That rang a bell!
I was raised in the church and I too heard more clearly the commands of God than His comfort: more THOU SHALL NOT’s than the Lord’s I Will’s. So, I assimilated guilt, real and imagined, into the tapestry, my life is, early on. They were strong threads. Alas, since no threads of grace or mercy seemed handy, for decades I stitched the canvas of my life with stupid choices, sometimes deliberately so.
Guilt doesn’t make a soul prosper.
When I read “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” I thought, Aha! Take that, God! But, refusing to admit guilt doesn’t prosper a soul, either.
Not knowing about God’s grace, and mercy – the other two tenets of the Christian faith, supporting God’s forgiveness — the guilt inducing aspect of the Christian religion kept tripping me up.Trying to expiate guilty feelings, I wandered down many paths – some like the ones that Ms Theroux writes about. Not all were bad, but they each led to dead ends.
What then prospers a soul?
Three things: Forgiveness, acceptance, and purpose.
- I really am guilty; and God really forgives me in Christ.
- I was truly alienated from God. But, now I am accepted in Christ.
- I had no purpose but pleasing myself . . . God’s still working on that.
Let me get back to the objection that Phyllis Theroux raised. She rejected Christianity because it induced guilt, and she is doing fine, according to her journal – which was an engaging memoir – she is good writer, describing situations and feelings I know!
Why then do I hope in Christ, and commend Him to you?
Second, Christ is a good Friend in the here and now:
- He restored what I had permitted locusts to devour, and knows how to keep those devouring pests from returning. ( Joel 2:24-26) The catch is letting go of all my pet locusts, which seem so harmless.
- He’s provided escapes through doors I did not know were locked; He leaves it up to me if I will take a step through.
- He’s up all night. ( Psalm 121) And He can do something about guilt, real and imagined. (Isaiah 53) But, again — He leaves it up to me. Will I ask?
Dear readers, what do you think?