Saturday, April 2, 2011

False Guilt -- The Solution

We have looked at the source and results of false guilt which leads us to the question, “what is the solution to false guilt?”. It is important for us to remember that we do not need to live our lives in bondage to false guilt otherwise those results will show up in our life. We can have victory, and we don’t have to live miserable lives.
  1. First you need to identify the type of guilt that you are having of whether it is true or false guilt. Dealing with true and false guilt are dealt with entirely different. If you need to, go back and reread my entry on the source of guilt. Identifying the source will help you determine whether it is true or false guilt. If it is true guilt, then you will need to take responsibility for what you have done and go and seek forgiveness. If it is false guilt, then the following thoughts will help you.
  2. Realize that the greatest battles that we face are in our mind. Rom. 12:2 tells us that we need to renew our mind in order for us to have Biblical thinking. Eph. 3:14ff tells us that we must be strengthened in the inner man, understand the love of God, and be consumed with the totality of who God is, and then He enables us to do His will. Moving forward in life does not start with “just doing it” but it starts with right thinking. 
  3. So what kind of thinking should I have? In short, I must have Biblical thinking but that is a broad answer that you probably are saying doesn’t help me very much. Here are some example of Biblical thinking. Life is not hopeless but rather hope is found in God. My identity is not in my life circumstances but it is in who I am in Christ (if you have accepted Christ as your Savior). God is not out to get me but rather is interested in my growth and me reflecting Him to others -- God loves me even though he designed my life to have this difficult circumstance in my life. God is in control -- I am not.  Loving yourself is not the most important thing but rather loving God is the most important thing.  Our problem is not that we don’t love ourselves enough but that we put ourselves first rather than God and others. Worrying is not trusting God. My personality is not an excuse for an incorrect reaction. Forgiveness not anger or bitterness is the path to restored relationships.  These are just a couple examples of Biblical thinking that we must maintain.
  4. Stop living in the fear of man. Living in the fear of man is allowing others people’s actions or reaction to determine my life choices. For example, someone who has been abused may feel that they can’t be loved or have good relationships because of someone else’s sin against them. That is living in the fear of man -- don’t let someone else’s bad choices determine what you will do -- you can still forgive and you can still be loved and love. Rather you need to live in the fear of God. It is this reverential respect that says I will live my life yielded to what God desires.
  5. Forgive -- this is such an important aspect when dealing with false guilt in relationships. Forgiveness does not equal trust and forgiveness is not putting life back to what it used to be, but it is a promise not to use something against that person to harm them. It is not holding on to the anger. Be willing to forgive.
  6. You can only take responsibility for what you knew at the time--not for what you would find out in the future. This is especially important in dealing with false guilt in the medical field. You can only operate with the knowledge that you have at the time you have it. W’e can’t go back and redo it but we make the best decisions we can with the information we have and move forward and then make adjustments as we need to make them.
  7. Don’t live in the the if only we had . . ., I wish we . . ., what if . . ., if only . . . world. That world of vast possibilities will get you into trouble if you live there trying to relive the past with its possibilities. You have to make decisions from where you are today regardless of the decisions that were made before. Yes, I have plenty of these moments in my life with my relationship with Tiffany in the medical field, in our marriage relationship, in our life decisions, and in our personal ives. I cannot relive the past though and it is foolish to try and figure out what life would have been if I (we) had done something else. Accept where you are today, learn from the past, and move forward making better and more informed decisions for the future. Don’t live in regret.
  8. Focus on the reality of who my God is and not upon my circumstances. Yes, I must deal with my circumstances but I am not defined by my circumstances but rather I am defined by who I am in Christ. Since I have accepted Christ as my Savior to pay for my sin by His death on the cross. My identity is not in my life circumstances such as my job, my family, my health, or my marital status -- my identity is in Christ. When I focus on my actual identity then the issues of false guilt begin to disappear because false guilt many times is tied in to finding my identity in that person, thing, or idea that is creating the false guilt. Who is my God -- He is loving, just, holy, sovereign, all knowing, all powerful, kind, tender hearted, forgiving, gracious, and above all. As I focus in on my God and who I am in Christ rather than my circumstances, then I am able to rest in Him realizing that my responsiblity is to simply make wise choices but I am not the determiner of the end result. I must trust God through it.
Don’t live your life with false guilt -- it will slowly erode your life to a place of misery and no hope. Rather, set aside the false guilt trusting God with your life. As Tiffany challenged me in the last days of her life, “Hope in God.”