I sought the Lord and He answered me and rescued me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces will never be ashamed. Psalm 34: 4-5 (CSB)
Do you own (or perhaps you inherited) something, only to feel a strange guilt for having it?
Maybe it’s an inheritance from a parent. Or a talent God has given you. Perhaps it’s even a special keepsake, like a note or old photo, that has no monetary value but means more than any amount of money to you.
For me, all three of these examples are parts of my life and have been used by the enemy to cause guilt. But I didn’t do anything wrong to receive these things, so why would I ever feel guilty for having these joyous gifts in my life?
Why do we feel guilty for inheriting something that is rightfully ours?
I’ve shared a couple of posts about the harmful effects of people-pleasing, but another common type of desire to please others, that’s often more easily disguised, is false guilt.
The ultimate purpose of all false guilt is to create FEAR. Fear that leads to paralyzing emotions the enemy attempts to use toward stopping what God intends to do with the blessings you’ve inherited.
Sometimes, false guilt can come from words or actions of a person. For example, I’ve felt this guilt about a keepsake from a family member. Another relative expressed to me that she should have been given that item. So I prayed. Lord, do you want me to give this item to her? Or am I feeling false guilt? (Spoiler alert: It was the latter.)
Sometimes, false guilt is created by our own mind. Similar to worry, we can have irrational thoughts fueled by fear of disapproval.
My family inheritance, my talents and my keepsakes are linked to specific callings I have from God. If I continue feeling false guilt over those things, how can I carry out what God has intended for His glory?
See, the ultimate inheritance is the Kingdom of God and eternity with our Father (Matthew 25:34). It’s important to recognize the roadblocks Satan creates to distract us from God’s gifts and enjoyments. (At the same time, recognize any and all earthly possessions as God’s property, not ours [1 Corinthians 10:26] and only keep what’s part of God’s will.)
Now, focusing on spiritual gifts … Perhaps you’re carrying a testimony others need to hear. Are you free to share your story, or do you struggle with doubt and insecurity created by fear? For example … A man on fire to share the love of Jesus is called by God to share his testimony of overcoming years of addiction. However, an insecure Christian friend talks the man into staying quiet about the details of past since it could be “too much reality” for some of their mutual friends to handle.
Psalm 34:4-5 says I sought the Lord and He answered me and rescued me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces will never be ashamed.
Are you looking to the Lord with radiant joy, or are you experiencing shame and lies because of the enemy’s attempt to hold you back? Friend, if we’re going to effectively minister to each other, we HAVE to share the truth. Life gets messy sometimes. And too many people feel alone in their struggles because we’re too afraid to share where we’ve been, in fear of judgement.
Avoid letting your insecurities (or the insecurities of others) hold you back and lead you to false guilt. Your past does not define you, but sharing it may help pull someone out of their pit. Let NO ONE BUT JESUS define you (and convict you), and your story will assist in helping others find their purpose through Him.
Do you have an example of experiencing false guilt? Need prayer to overcome it? Please share in the comments below.