One of my friends opened up about being completely guilty about doing something he regrets doing. He’s have been struggling with it for multiple months now and couldn’t shake it. Not only does it hurt to hear someone breaking like this, but I sat there thinking, most, if not all of us all struggle with or have struggled with this. The struggle of chains full of judgment for ourselves that are tied down by guilt and shame.
“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
The part that struck me was, “I do not even judge myself.” I was taken completely back from it because the idea has never crossed my mind and honestly was hard to understand. When I read this, I was reading out of my NIV Study Bible and there was a reference that shed more light on the subject.
“It is tempting to judge fellow Christians, evaluating whether or not they are good followers of Christ. But only God knows a person’s heart, and he is the only one right to judge… when you judge someone, you invariably consider yourself better and that is arrogant” (NIV Zondervan)
When Corinthians states, “it is the Lord who Judges me” (vs.4b), this takes the idea of judgment to a new level. When we think of judgment, we often focus on God judging others but don’t ever think about God judging ourselves. We’ve always heard don’t judge others but going back to the basics, we shouldn’t judge anyone, including ourselves.
I feel as if this also ties into guilt and shame. We’ve done things we regret but then we take it a step forward, we spend time after time judging ourselves. This digs us into a deeper and deeper hole of shame and regret. Everything has the ability to become a lesson that we are capable of learning from. Our job is to learn the lesson, ask for forgiveness, and let God forgive us… at this point, why keep judging yourself.
Focus back again on the quote from my study Bible. Go to the part (line two) where it says “…but God only knows a person’s heart and he is the only one who has a heart to judge” (Zondervan) is so true. Sometimes, we can be our worst enemy and the devil likes to put us through guilt trip after guilt trip. I’m not saying to keep sinning. God knows your heart. I’m saying don’t let the chains of shame keep you from leaving a fulfilled life that God has for you. God is the one who knows the heart and motives and is the only, true judge. Don’t let the past holding you down. The other day I was talking to someone about forgiveness. We were talking about how it isn’t fair to hold someone to their past. Most times we don’t know the whole story, but we still choose to hold something against them. When people feel guilty, ask and ask for forgiveness, they are forgiven. People know what they have done, most times feel guilty and forgiven by God. With that, they don’t want to feel worst about it.
If what we just read is true, doesn’t it apply when judging ourselves?
Our God is a God of second chances and a God an uncomprehending love He holds grace that has the power to override anything. Things take time to heal but don’t judge yourself and beat yourself up if you asked for forgiveness and are forgiven. Shame is from the devil, a tool used to hold us down from our full potential. My thing is, if God forgave them, then I need to also forgive. Isn’t that also true for ourselves? If God forgave you, shouldn’t you forgive yourself?
God wants to heal our broken hearts. One of my favorite verses is “‘ He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3). God has the ability to heal. But the question is, are you willing to surrender it? I love the next part, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” (Psalms 147:4-5) God knows all, he knows your heart, your past, present, and future. He’s standing here, with his arms open, and ready to restore what is broken. Nothing is impossible and too big for God. You just need to be willing to accept him.
Don’t forget you aren’t your past because you are forgiven by the love and grace of God. God knows your heart. If you are struggling with something and you are truly sorry, God knows. He didn’t send his son to defeat death to let you suffer. Learn from your mistake and give it to God. Don’t let your past stop you from the present and future. You have good things coming your way. I know this is all easier said than done, but that’s when our faith takes action, and it will be worth your wild. God can turn the worst things into something to give him glory.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Jesus already died for you. Let him take your guilt and shame away. “It is finished” (John 19:30b)
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4
“…to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” 1 Peter 4:16
‘”If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
(Side note, thanks to the friend who allowed me to use him in my first few sentences.)
Citation: Zondervan. Niv Life Application Study Bible. Zondervan, 2011.