Charles Stanley (October-15-2020) Daily Devotion: The Burden of False Guilt.
Guilt is an emotional response to wrongdoing. We should feel the Lord’s conviction when we disobey His commandments, or even when we break civil laws that do not contradict God’s laws. But there’s another kind of guilt that is not from the Lord but from man. Called “false guilt,” it has different forms.
Legalism is a form of religion that holds firmly to man-made rules rather than to Christ (Col. 2:16-23).
- 16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--
- 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
- 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
- 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
- 20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,
- 21 Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!"
- 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?
- 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
It has no power for salvation or transformation but instead enslaves people to false guilt when they fail to keep the rules.
Perfectionism is a burden we place upon ourselves. If we don’t perform to our self-made standards, we feel like failures and can’t forgive ourselves. However, Christians are commanded to live for Christ, not for themselves and their own expectations.
Trying to please people is another source of false guilt. This could develop in the home, workplace, school, church, or anywhere that others place demands on us.
Of course, the ideal is always to treat others with love and kindness. But with false guilt, the solution is to please God, not people. When guilt comes, evaluate its source. Is it from God or man?