Have you ever heard the phrase, “elephant in the room?” It’s a pretty common phrase, maybe a little outdated but I think it provides great imagery. Basically, it’s an issue that everyone is aware of, but no one wants to address. I mean, think about it. Really picture it in your mind. There is an elephant in a room. How did it get there? How can you get rid of it? The elephant is probably larger than the doorway, so you’ll likely have to destroy the room to get it out. And if you can’t get it out, who’s going to feed it? What do elephants eat? Who’s going to clean up when it goes to the bathroom? Just mentioning it opens up a whole can of worms and I hate worms!
Nonetheless, there is an elephant. To honest, there are probably several elephants in many rooms, but today I want to talk about one, and his name is guilt. I know what you’re thinking. Teauna, guilt has already been addressed. Christians talk about guilt all the time! I mean, Jesus died to remove our guilt. That’s the whole story. Or is it?
People talk about why we shouldn’t feel guilt, but no one really talks about guilt itself and what it does to you. No one talks about the feeling in the pit of your stomach or the sleepless nights or destructive cycles it creates. If there is a feeling I know intimately, it is guilt. And guilt is painful and uncomfortable and all consuming. It washes over you in waves and prevents you from being happy. It causes you punish yourself because you think that will release you from the pain. It shakes your very core and leaves you broken. And it feeds all your greatest insecurities.
It’s hard for me because guilt, though it may perpetuate a lie, at its root is not a lie. It’s true. I made a mistake. I said the wrong thing. I disobeyed God. I should have spoken up. I wasn’t supposed to watch that. I shouldn’t have judged them. I messed up.
And that’s true for all of us. That’s why we don’t like to talk about it. Right? To talk about guilt is to admit that we have sinned. We missed the mark. It forces us to come face to face with the ugly, uncomfortableness of our own humanity. I think Paul said it best:
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” Romans 7:18-19 NLT
The lie, however is that we are our sin. We lie so think that makes us liars. We tell ourselves that we are liars. We screw up. We tell ourselves that we are screw ups and we wonder why we can’t shake the guilt. We may have done wrong, but we are not wrong.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
We are not our sin. Maybe before we knew Christ we could get away with letting ourselves be defined by our mistakes, but God came in and made us new. He destroyed sin on the cross so that it could no longer define us. He took our mistakes and turned us into the righteousness of God. You are God’s righteousness. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, tell you otherwise.