Change can be difficult but good. Physically, growing pains are a perfect example of change that hurts, but is necessary if we want to grow. What could that look like spiritually? In Ezekiel 3, God speaks to Ezekiel and tells him to receive God’s words in his own heart before going to speak to the people. Ezekiel had a challenging task before him because these people were rebellious; the Lord said that they would not listen to Him. Okay, let’s pause and think about this for a minute. Would you want to go tell a group of rebellious people to change their ways and come back to God? Especially if you knew already that they were not listening to God? Yet, that’s exactly what the Lord told him to do. It makes sense why the Lord asks him to first receive His words into his own heart in verse 10. That is to know from the depths of his heart that this is what the Lord wanted him to do, no matter the response (verse 11). What could make these people listen to Ezekiel? Perhaps guilt for their rebelliousness was already at work within them.
Guilt is agent for change. To acknowledge our wrong standing before God and cause us to humble ourselves before Him. To put away our pride and to admit our shame. To be sorry. First to our Creator, then to the person or people we’ve hurt. People who have walked this out in relationships say they have experienced an even greater love and closeness towards each other as a result. It frees us to love.
Guilt is not for living a life in condemnation and shame but rather for the opposite. Conviction for wrong doing is given, so that we would know the weight of sin in our lives and how it wants to hold us back from moving forward into the God-given destiny that He has planned for us. Guilt comes as a warning to see what area of our lives is pulling us away from God, leading us into darkness. Guilt comes so that we might experience complete freedom from the chains of sin that so easily ensnare us. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” (Hebrews 12:1), leading us to forgiveness. It is the proper response from being offended. It reveals our sinful human nature. Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus came to show us a better way. A life that does not have to be lived in bondage to sin, that we are so helpless against. “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. . . For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me…” Psalm 38:4.
It is the wretched pit of despair that Jesus came to pull us out of. “Come,” He says as He holds out a hand for you to embrace. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. How does guilt benefit you? It leads us to freedom from the burden of sin. Believe in the Savior’s power to set you free.
God wants you to be free to live out your God-given purpose. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. Just as a good father wants his son to come and admit when he’s disobeyed him, so our loving Father can’t wait for us to draw near to Him and say those releasing words, “I’m sorry.” “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy…” Hebrews 4:16.
Don’t let guilt hold you back from receiving the freedom and purpose God has planned for you. Instead, let it draw you to His throne of grace. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10. He wants the best for you. Live free!