The old "guilty conscience" creeped in a bit today.

For those who don’t know me, I used to be seriously strict, religion-wise. No alcohol, no non-Christian music. I was very uptight about what I would watch on television. All of my opinions were cut and paste from today’s top preacher, verbatim. Every conviction I had, every limit I imposed on myself, had nothing to do with my genuine desires. Did I limit myself because I genuinely wanted to keep a healthy mind? No…it was all compulsion.

The problem was a guilty conscience. Somehow, despite the Christian belief that Jesus provides forgiveness and he declares us righteous in his own sight, I felt like I always had something to prove.

I understand many Christians don’t drink, or don’t watch certain types of movies, and that’s fine. I’m not saying every Christian who holds those convictions does so out of guilty conscience.  If their genuine heart’s desire is to operate that way for the sake of their soul-health, then it’s good. My problem was not any of these invidual examples I listed (drinking, movies, music), my problem was a pure and simple guilty conscience. If it wasn’t movies, music, or drinking, I would’ve obsessed about something else. I would’ve found something else to condemn in my life.

Nowdays I am much more concerned with love and grace then I am on external things. I read the Sermon on the Mount the other day, and was struck by how intentional Jesus was in it on stressing a religion that touches your heart more than it does your externals–or your rules. "You’ve heard it said..but I say to you". Since I’ve given up many of these old convictions, I’ve found that instead of causing me to stumble, the freedom I’ve allowed has caused me to be more devoted. Suddenly I perceive God’s compassion, and I am more willing to show it to others.

Back in the day I was so consumed with a guilty conscience, it was so severe, so tormenting, that I believe I have developed PTSD. Sometimes all it takes is for me to hear a Christian song I used to listen to, or to hear the voice of a certain preacher, and suddenly I lock up…I feel the same strictness and tension I used to be plagued with. I feel pressured to not to do this, not to do that, not to drink, not to watch movies, not to have any secular music on my page. All things that are of little effect in how I love other people and love God.

It can be devastating, because the first person it damages is me, and the next person it damages is anyone else around me who I feel compelled to judge as much as I feel I’m being judged.

2 Comments
  1. dbrady1023 11 years ago

    Matt:

    I too am a christian battling depression.  I see a therapist once a month and surprisingly it has helped.  I only have gone once.  But when I stumbled across your blog, I wanted to share some things with you.  I am not clear as to why you feel a guilt conscience but I can tell you that I sympathize with you since I too have struggled with that.  But honestly I really do lean on my faith to the point I ask God to help me and show me what to do and he does.  I have learned that once you know who you are in Christ the enemy stays at bay for the most part especially when you really exercise your faith by not entertaining any thoughts that are not of God.  This morning I watched Joyce meyer and she was preaching on attitudes.  And it was powerful because she said that our attitudes set the pace for our day.  And they do!  And they will keep us from elevating to the next level.  Listening to praise and worship will keep those those thoughts at bay too.  Its ok tomonitor what you watch and hear.  Sometimes just  little bit of something that is not good can cause corruption in our spirits.  Know who you ar!  A child of the king!  Tell the enemy he has no place in your life and he is defeated.  Stand up and declare his word over your life every day!  No weapon formed against me shall prosper!  Do you belong to a church?  Do you get regular fellowship with other believers?  Thats important because it keep us accountable.  And when we are accountable we dont fall as hard.  We need those kinds of relationships.  I dont know where I would be.  I work crazy hours and at this time work sundays….So these relationships are even more important to me.  I do go to church on wednesday night to keep the word close to me.  But I know that my situation is not for forever.  And as soon as my asignent is finished God will move me to the next level where I can attend church on sundays again.  Just ask God to help you and show u what he would have you do.  Especially if your looking for work at this point.  Ask him to open the right door for you…He knows your situation.  Just ask.  Every morning read 1 chapter of the new testement.  That  will enable you to have a fresh start every day.  Get up 1/2 hour earlier and just put some praise and worship music on and read.  Watch God show up! Dont surrender to the enemy and dont let him push your buttons.  Remember he knows our weaknessess…Every morning declare the word of God and start the day off positive.  Know God is with you and he loves you very much!  

    Always here 

    Donna  

    |
    0 kudos
  2. mattmic 11 years ago

    I appreciate all the comments. I have a vibrant Christianity and I didn”t want anyone to get the impression otherwise…just every once in a while a guilty conscience comes in…not because of anything I”ve done…it”s just the feeling that I am constantly having something to prove with God. I always feel on the defensive, like he is hovering over me watching everything I do.

    It is sort of a complex part of my depression…I think it would be present whether I was religious or not.

    |
    0 kudos

Leave a reply

© 2021 WebTribes Inc. | find your tribe

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account