Godly grief

By Dave Henning / September 23, 2016

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  For see that earnestness this godly grief has produced in you . . .”- 2 Corinthians 7:10-11

In Chapter 6 of Before Amen, Max Lucado observes that tattoo parlors need a sign over the entrance: Think before you ink.”  Although tattoo artists possess no delete key, the artist can remove mistakes or unwanted tattoos- for a painful price.

Similarly, Pastor Lucado noes, “guilt leaves a tattooed heart.”  Furthermore, unresolved guilt births a host of unhealthy emotions.  Hence, most of those emotions, Max notes, fit under one of two headings- defensiveness or defeat.

Defensive souls:

  • keep the skeleton in the closet
  • tell no one; admit nothing
  • seek innocence, not forgiveness
  • reduce life to one aim- suppress the secret
  • don’t address or treat failures

Defeated souls:

  • define themselves by the past
  • didn’t make mistakes; they are the mistakes
  • didn’t foul up; they are foul-ups
  • wear the past on their sleeve
  • cudgel themselves with doubt and shame

Therefore, Pastor Lucado encourages you to “open yourself to the idea of a guilt-free you.”  Consequently, when you drag your past around for too long, it becomes part of your identity.

In conclusion, Max describes three ways to avail yourself of Jesus’ final word on your life- grace.

  1. Give God your guilt.  Hold nothing back.  In addition, Max exhorts, “Place your guilt on the back of your Sin Bearer.”
  2. Be concrete in your confession.  Just as physical wounds heal when exposed to air, exposure to the atmosphere of grace heals guilt.  Furthermore, confession isolates sin, thus exposing and extracting it.
  3. Be firm in this prayer.  Finally, speak to your guilt in the name of Jesus.  In addition, tell your guilt where to get off.

Today’s question: Have you experienced godly grief, or have you responded to adversity with defensiveness or defeat?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Intercessory prayer”

About the author

Dave Henning

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