“The grace that was showered on us at salvation did not provide us with an escape hatch from our responsibility to others. On the contrary, that very grace should compel us to make restitution to those we’ve wronged.”- Andy Stanley (emphasis Andy’s)
In Chapter 12 (“Out in the Open”) of Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley talks about unresolved guilt. First, Pastor Stanley reminds us that confessing to God alone doesn’t resolve our guilt. Since you offended someone, talking to God alone fails to resolve your guilt. Until you confess to the offended party, your burden of guilt remains.
However, you may counter that God’s forgiveness absolves you of any further responsibility. Thus, you see no need to dredge up a bunch of stuff from your past. Yet, as Andy astutely observes, after you’ve completed all your theological gymnastics, your guilt remains. The author adds, “Forgiveness doesn’t erase our need to take responsibility for what we’ve done. In fact, forgiveness should drive our confession.”
Yet, as Christians, we receive the unconditional, undeserved grace of God. But, Pastor Stanley stresses, even though God’s forgiven you, those you wronged may still harbor unforgiveness. Specifically, bitterness and anger hold them hostage.
In conclusion, Andy offers this summary:
“The penalty for our sin, insofar as heaven and hell are concerned, has been dealt with once and for all. The consequences of our sins are a different matter. . . . It’s true you can never repay God for all he’s’ done for you. But, you may certainly be able to repay your fellow man for what you’ve done to him. And doing so is the only way to free your heart from the poison of guilt once and for all.”
Today’s question: Have you ever used an escape hatch to avoid responsibility to others? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Buried splinters – consequences of concealment”