“Guilt says, ‘I owe you.’ Guilt is the result of having done something we perceived as wrong. Every wrong we do can be restated as an act of theft. . . . If I steal from you, I owe you. So the message from a heart laden with guilt is, ‘I owe you.’ “- Andy Stanley
“Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.”- Proverbs 22:7 (NLT)
In Chapter 6 (“Guilt: I Owe You”) of Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley stresses the power of debt resulting from guilt. Most noteworthy, Pastor Stanley observes, we’ve even coined specific terminology for resolving our guilt. For example, we say that we owe someone an apology.
So, Andy asks, why do we choose the word owe? Because, in our hearts, we know we took something. As a result, in some fashion we’re now debtors. Thus, our debt obligates us to pay something. Even if words represent our only available currency.
Furthermore, guilt creates devastating debt. Also, we compound the problem through making a series of debt-motivated decisions. In addition, Pastor Stanley notes, we don’t actively look for opportunities to seek out the person we owe. Rather, we look for ways to avoid that person. Therefore, the offended person pays the price.
In conclusion, Andy explains the only solution to guilt’s unpaid debt:
“Nothing less than paying that debt will relieve a guilty heart of the burden of guilt. People try to work it off, serve it off, give it off, and even pray it off. But no amount of good deeds, community service, charitable giving, or Sundays in the pew can relieve the guilt. It’s a debt. And it must be paid or canceled for a guilty heart to experience relief.”
Today’s question: What Scriptures free a heart laden with guilt? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “When anger remains, it intensifies and spreads”