Handling Guilt Biblically Part 2 + LINKUP

 

Handling Guilt Biblically Part 2Today we’re going to continue to talk about guilt, what it is, and why we experience it? We’ll look at how the world views it and the biblical perspective on it. Finally, we’ll talk about what God has to say about handling guilt biblically?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Handling Guilt Biblically Part 2

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” In previous posts we covered anger, depression, fear and worry. If you missed any of them, just click on the link.

Last week we looked in depth at Psalm 38 which was written by David as he struggled with guilt and depression.

Today we’ll look at how guilt and shame are tied to other negative emotions like fear and shame. We’ll also see how the culture has tried to remove all restrictions, including God’s law, to alleviate feelings of guilt, instead of dealing with the root issues. Then we’ll look at what guilt is biblically and how God says to deal with it.

 

An Unholy Trio: Guilt, Fear & Shame

 

A few weeks ago we looked at the first time fear showed up in the Bible. Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and eaten the fruit they had been forbidden to eat. When their eyes were opened and they realized what they had done, Genesis 3 says:

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

That fear was triggered by guilt and shame. Their response was to hide and when confronted to shift the blame to someone else:

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Since that day in the garden, human beings have perfected the art of blame-shifting and tried to cover our guilt with all kinds of fig leaves. We’ve blamed our parents, our economic situations, society, cultural demands, and religion just to name a few.

 

The World’s Fig Leaves

 

  • The Psychology Fig Leaf

Secular psychologists told us that religion and society imposed unfair “codes of conduct” on us and that was the root of our guilt. The answer we were told was to throw off those constraints and create our own definitions of what’s right and wrong.

Isn’t that what women’s liberation, the sexual revolution, the right to abortion, the demand to be gay, bisexual, transgender or whatever we desire, are all about? In our attempt to alleviate any guilt, we’ve re-written the code.

  • The Environmental Fig Leaf

Behaviorists came along and blamed the environment. They said we shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s not our fault. It’s because we’re poor and uneducated. Or it’s the way our parents raised or neglected us.

  • The Low Self-Esteem Fig Leaf

The self-esteem movement told us it’s because we don’t feel good about ourselves. We must raise our self-esteem so we can eliminate those negative emotions.

  • The Medical Fig Leaf

The medical world has clouded the issue, too. Drunkenness is now called a disease, alcoholism. Rebellion is oppositional defiance disorder. Sexual immorality is a sexual addiction.

The problem is when we quit calling things what they are, the answers get obscured, as well.

 

The Effects of Living in a Sin Cursed World

 

No one would deny the the environment in which a person is raised has an effect on them. But we have a choice as to how we’ll respond to those factors. And because of our fallen nature we can have a predisposition to certain kinds of sin, weaknesses, where we need to depend on God in a greater way.

And, certainly, we need to examine any “code of conduct” in light of God’s Word. Legalism and false religions are full of man-made rules. But the answer isn’t to come up with what seems right to us.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death (Prov. 14.12).

And nowhere in the Bible are we told to esteem ourselves, but rather, to esteem God and others. We’re not to denigrate ourselves, but neither are we to think more highly of ourselves than we should.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (Rom. 12.3).

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself (Phil. 2.3).

Whatever our weaknesses, whatever our environment, God has promised that if we belong to Him, He’ll give us the grace we need for every situation.  Continue reading

“Living Based on the Hope that is within Us” June 9

 

Living Based on the Hope that is within Us - What if God called you or I to suffer for our faith or to live under some kind of oppression? Would we trust Him and choose to live righteously and show His love to those around us? On the other hand, even under the best of circumstances, sinful thoughts like discontent, envy, criticism and bitterness can cause us to justify all kinds of sinful behaviors. Those sins we think we harbor in our hearts and minds can send us into a downward slide into things we never could have imagined, as we'll see in 2 Kings 6.

 

What if God called you or I to suffer for our faith or to live under some kind of oppression? Would we trust Him and choose to live righteously and show His love to those around us?

On the other hand, even under the best of circumstances, sinful thoughts like discontent, envy, criticism and bitterness can cause us to justify all kinds of sinful behaviors. Those sins we think we harbor in our hearts and minds can send us into a downward slide into things we never could have imagined, as we’ll see in 2 Kings 6.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 5 & 6
Psalm 72.1-7
Proverbs 18.10-11
John 18.1-18

 

Living Based on the Hope that is within Us

 

2 Kings 5 & 6:

Serving God in Whatever Circumstances

 

Chapter 5.2-3 really amazes me and has a great message for us.

“And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, ‘If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.'”

Here’s a young girl who had been ripped away from her family and life as she knew it, forced to work as a slave, and yet, look at her heart attitude—one of loyalty and concern for the people under whose authority God had placed her.

Why would God allow that to happen to her in the first place?

For the same reason He allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery and carried off to a foreign land—to fulfill His plans and purposes AND to bless those He uses. We need to remember that our good and His glory are always connected.

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3.13-17).

Because of this little servant girl, who lived her life out of “the hope that [was] in [her],” Naaman would come to know the One True God.

 

The Joys and Sorrows of Discipling Others

 

discipleship Bible studyAnother passage that spoke to me was 2 Kings 5.25-26. After Naaman had gone to the Prophet and been healed, he offered Elisha gifts of silver and clothing, but Elisha had refused them. After he left, Elisha’s servant Gehazi followed him, told him that the Prophet had changed his mind, and had greedily taken the gifts.

“Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, ‘Where did you go, Gehazi?’ And he said, ‘Your servant did not go anywhere.’ Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you?’ …”

“Did not my heart go with you …” It’s such a blessing to see those you have led to the Lord or discipled grow and walk in the truth, but painful to see them walk away from the truth.

How Elisha’s heart must have been broken to see Gehazi, who had seen so many of God’s miracles, turn his back on God for monetary gain!

How easily we can get on a downward slide into sin. We first need to realize that we can’t play around with sinful thoughts. Thoughts of discontent, envy and criticism can easily cause us to justify taking what we think we deserve or some other sinful behavior or response.

If not repented of and forsaken one sin leads to another and to another (Rom. 6.19) as we see in 2 Kings 6.

 

Without Shame

 

Chapter 6 recounts a very disturbing story of how the Northern Kingdom’s descent into sin and idolatry had brought them to the depths of human depravity. Samaria was under siege and food had become so scarce that the people were starving. Verses 26-29:

“Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, ‘Help, my lord, O king!’ And he said, ‘If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?’ Then the king said to her, ‘What is troubling you?’ And she answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, “Give your son, that we may eat him”; but she has hidden her son.'”

Can you imagine this, even under starvation conditions? The first thing that struck me was the woman’s lack of shame! She didn’t mind telling the king what they had done!

But as I thought about this passage and how shocking it is, is it that different from women today who allow their boyfriends to abuse or even kill their babies or children. And others who do so themselves.

Neither should we lose sight of the fact that there is a message in this for us, too. It’s so tempting to get self-righteous and think:  Continue reading

“Are you hiding who you are?” January 12

 

Are you hiding who you are? - In today's reading, one young woman traveled hundreds of miles on camel back to meet her future husband. He must have been waiting expectantly to see her, but as they approached, she covered herself with a veil. Today, if we wear veils at all, it's part of a traditional wedding outfit or a fashion statement, but that doesn't mean we aren't still hiding who we really are. It may be in a dating relationship or a social situation or in the business world.What if, as a young woman, someone showed up and said, “God wants you to go to another country to marry a man you’ve never met—and by the way—he’s your long lost cousin!”

In Biblical times, people didn’t just meet, date, fall in love, and decide to get married. Even if there was “love at first sight,” marriage still had to be arranged with parents or guardians.

In today’s reading, one young woman traveled hundreds of miles on camel back to meet her future husband. He must have been waiting expectantly to see her, but as they approached, she covered herself with a veil.

Today, if we wear veils at all, it’s part of a traditional wedding outfit or a fashion statement, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still hiding who we really are. It may be in a dating relationship or a social situation or in the business world.

Also, read about how God can keep us “Safe in Persecution,” and how He wants us to “Depart from Evil,” and to “Walk in the Light.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 23 & 24
Psalm 7.1-5
Proverbs 3.7-8
Matthew 9.1-17

 

Are you hiding who you are?

 

Genesis 23 & Genesis 24:

Hiding Who We Are

 

Sometimes as we read about the unusual customs in the Bible, it’s difficult to see the connection to us in our time. Like, “Put you hand under my thigh …” (in v. 24 as a way of swearing an oath)—aren’t you glad men shake hands these days! And what if, as a young woman, someone showed up and said, “God wants you to go to another country to marry a man you’ve never met—and by the way—he’s your long lost cousin!”

Many marriages were arranged in Biblical times. People didn’t just meet, date, fall in love, decide to get married, and live happily ever after. Even if they did “fall in love” which seems to happen with Jacob and Rachel a few chapters from now, things still had to be arranged with the potential bride’s family. In Jacob’s case that arrangement took fourteen years.

And what about Isaac? He’s a grown man by now, yet his father sent his servant to find him a bride. And it wasn’t that he fell instantly in love when he saw her, as if God was some supernatural cupid. When Rebekah realized it was Isaac coming to meet her, Continue reading

“Shame, Dishonor & Consequences” January 5

 

Shame, Dishonor & Consequences - The Bible calls Noah a righteous man, yet he was barely off the ark before he had sinned by getting drunk. Two of his sons responded righteously, but one did not. What does the Bible say about drunkenness and how should we respond to the sins of others, especially those closest to us?The Bible calls Noah a righteous man, yet he was barely off the ark before he had sinned by getting drunk. Two of his sons responded righteously, but one did not. What does the Bible say about drunkenness and how should we respond to the sins of others, especially those closest to us?

We’ll also talk about being made in the image of God, the quality of our “salt,” the importance of reconciliation, what it looks like to live in the kingdom of God, and driving under the influence.

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 9 & 10
Psalm 3.5-8
Proverbs 1.23-27
Matthew 5.1-26

 

Shame, Dishonor & Consequences

 

Genesis 9 & 10:

Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall!

 

It didn’t take mankind long to sin again, did it?! Noah and his family are barely out of the ark when Noah gets drunk and acts foolishly. When he does, his son Ham can’t resist the urge to look at him in a disrespectful way.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says about chapter 9.18-23:

“The drunkenness of Noah is recorded in the Bible, with that fairness which is found only in the Scripture, … to show that the best of men cannot stand upright, unless they depend upon Divine grace, and are upheld thereby. Ham … probably rejoiced to find his father in an unbecoming situation. It was said of Noah, that he was perfect in his generations, chapter 6.9; but this is meant of sincerity, not of a sinless perfection. Noah, who had kept sober in drunken company, is now drunk in sober company. Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”

That last statement is a quote from 1 Corinthians 10.12. We need to be very careful not to think of ourselves as better than someone else or above sinning in some area, especially in our own strength. We must learn to continually rely on God and His strength.

Matthew Henry goes on: Continue reading