The Millstone of Guilt . . .

Sometimes I feel guilty for sins I committed 30 and sometimes 40 years ago. I have had plenty of time to do wrong to myself and others in my lifetime. That thing I did. That thing I said. That thing I thought.

I could not find within the Gospels any passage where Jesus directly addresses the problem of personal guilt and just how unstablizing and painful needless compunction can become.

Jesus commands us to forgive our brother as many as seventy times seven times. (Please see Matthew 18:22 along with the accompanying discourse.)

But how many times can we forgive ourselves? Sometimes we are kinder to our neighbor than we are to ourselves. Our neighbor may have forgiven us years ago that we forgot to return an object we borrowed, yet, we can harbor guilt for many years over a small infraction.

I address the question of sin, forgiveness and guilt in my manuscript, “Welcoming Jesus.” Please see my website

I think of the problem of guilt today because, as a mother, there are many, many circumstances I would like to do over. I know I am in the same boat with most parents. But the problem is not limited to parenting. We all have friends we feel we have wronged, or co-workers, or neighbors. It is an infinite riddle of life.

God forgives us our sins through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ is our hope and our leader. He is our salvation here on Earth, and what goes beyond.

While I did not find a passage where Jesus specifically addresses compunction, I did find Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus talks about refreshing our souls. Specifically, Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Have faith.

Wendy S.

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