Pointing the finger outward

By Dave Henning / January 28, 2024

“Even when our guilt is pointing the finger inward, we justify our attitudes and actions to ourselves and other by pointing the finger outward.  Blame is one way of trying to strip our guilt of its power, but it never works.”- Chip Ingram

“Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”- Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

Chip Ingram concludes Chapter 9 of Discover Your True Self as he talks about why Christians might still feel so guilty.  Thus, Pastor Ingram gives a twofold answer.  He states that:

  1. even after coming to Christ, we carry with us the false guilt and baggage of our past.
  2. we all commit sins after the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ.  In addition, the Holy Spirit lets us know our sins short-circuit our fellowship with God.

Furthermore, as Becca Johnson stresses in her book Good Guilt, Bad Guilt, it’s also possible to feel guilty because of negative attitudes or ongoing behaviors.  And at times we feel guilty about decisions like eating the wrong foods or wasting time.

Most significantly, Chip counsels, we tend to deal with our guilt in unhealthy ways.  We tend to deal with it like Adam and Eve.  First, we hide our guilt.  Then, we deny it or excuse it.

In conclusion, Pastor Ingram notes, we all chose a drug of choice to cover our guilt.  For Chip, work served as his drug.  Hence, Chip adds:

“You’ll notice [your drug of choice] beginning to surface whenever you feel restless, start to reflect on your problems, think about the big issues of life, or are reminded of past mistakes or dysfunctional patterns.  Your instinct will be to bury the guilt and turn to your distraction, your ‘drug.’ . . .

We first have to identify the symptoms and behaviors; then we can explore the guilt that creates them.  When we do, God begins a healing process that not only removes the symptoms but deals with the cause.”

Today’s question: When do you find yourself pointing the finger outward?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A formidable and complex foe”

About the author

Dave Henning

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