Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Here is an article from Relevant Magazine called "Saying Goodbye to Guilt Driven Christianity".
Sadly, many—if not most—Christians live with the same guilt. We feel guilty if we stay out too late on Saturday and sleep through church on Sunday morning. We feel guilty if the physical components of our relationships with our girlfriends or boyfriends “go too far.” We feel guilty if we don’t give money to the Church or spend the right amount of time in prayer. Unfortunately, many believers are driven to do these things—pray, tithe, attend church, remain sexually pure—by a rabid sense of duty.
This ought not to be. While these things are good things and goals to be sought after, and while guilt should be a natural reaction to sin from a regenerate heart, the Christian faith should never be driven by a sense of duty, guilt or entitlement. Instead, we should be driven to lives of holiness by passion—passion for God, passion for the lost, passion for the Gospel, passion for each other.
I'm not sure if I agree. Is the nature of love always a great passion from inside compelling you to do everything with a grin on your face? I would say, no. In fact, I find it takes the most love to do something you really don't want to do at all, you might even say out of a sense of duty. Just this morning, I put some dishes away from dinner last night (which I probably should've done before I went to bed). Did I want to? No! But I told Sarah I would and she hates doing dishes. I figured the least I could do was not make her clean up after she cooked.

I think this sort of approach to Christianity can lead to a willy-nilly do whatever you're excited and passionate about attitude where you don't have to confront the fact that love means doing a lot of things (often very mundane things) that you don't want to do and will never get any recognition for. I think I've heard all of this somewhere else too.....

1 comment:

Professor RJ Gumby said...

I would agree that this "don't feel guilty" is a lot of ...well, to keep it old school...hooey. Guilt is there to give us a sense of the "ought". However, the real issue is how you deal with it. Do you resolve to get better or do you resolve that you just want to run from this gut wrenching feeling? I prefer to get better.

There are days when I go to God knowing that I sinned. And I feel like I did when I had to tell my dad how I messed up. Yet, God does not beat me down. He tells me to do better. And the feeling of freedom from guilt when you know you are forgiven is much more motivating then saying "It just should not matter."

Plus I had a close friend whose family was Orthodox Jews, and a friend of our family was a Catholic priest. My mom learned from the best in how to instill guilt. As Mrs. Stern used to say, my mom had super-Goyim powers. But Mom loved me as much as anyone, and used her guilt powers when they would have their maximum use.

Why dull the voice of conscience?