Sunday, May 28, 2017

How To Feel Bad Well

I have to confess, I love the feeling of ending a bout with sin and walking away from it. Getting away from whatever it was, and taking some alone time to pray to God and get back to living for Him instead of running away -- it's such a relief.

Most people feel bad after doing something they know is wrong. But there's two different ways to feel bad about something. As a general rule, you can either pity yourself or you can be filled with sorrow over how what you did affected the person you did it against. There are such things as "victimless crimes," where something you do doesn't necessarily hurt another person. But there's no such thing as a "victimless sin," because all sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4). So the appropriate response to your feelings of guilt after doing something wrong is to be anguished over hurting your relationship with your Heavenly Father. The wrong way to react is to run away from God in shame, refusing to deal with Him. The wrong way to react is to make it all about you.

2 Corinthians 7:10 - For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Think about it: "I should be better than this." Really? You should be better than you are? You must think highly of yourself. Stop and realize--this sort of thought is actually PRIDE at its core. You suppose that you have it in yourself to be good. That is why you fail to reconcile with God; you run from Him because in your mind you truly think you can fix your mistakes without His help. It's monumentally arrogant! When you no longer say to yourself, "that's not who I really am--that's not me," and instead admit that you are as rotten as the things you do, then you're ready to accept the fact that only God can help you get out of the hole you've dug for yourself. That's why when you've done something wrong, the right thing to do is not to run away from God, but to run toward Him. He's not our enemy. We're our own worst enemy. He's our friend.

So as soon as you've admitted to yourself that you have sinned, run to God. Find Him in prayer and have the assurance of your salvation (Psalm 51:12) restored to you; thank Him for His forgiveness and ask for His help to strengthen you to avoid sin in the future.


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