Do you ever feel like something is holding you back? You want to be light-hearted and free, but something weighs you down?
My car felt sluggish once. It didn’t seem to respond much when I hit the accelerator. Only after I parked did I see the problem. I had forgotten to release the parking brake! Not only was it slowing me down, but I was also wasting a lot of energy (and money) trying.
Guilt is like a parking brake for our souls. It slows our progress, makes us feel held back, and wastes precious energy. Living with guilt can be exhausting.
George Bernard Shaw said, "Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world." If I feel unclean inside, it’s not surprising that everything outside is tinted by that. The apostle Paul put it this way: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure” (Titus 1:15). Guilt leads to suspicion and distrust of others, and that puts the brakes on relationships.
Guilt also brakes our relationship with God. If I feel shame, the last person I want to talk to or hear from is he who knows my deepest secrets. So, we hide from God and put the brakes on our spiritual development (i.e., happiness).
Guilt even creates a drag on our relationship with self. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you feel bad about yourself. (Profound, huh?)
In my car, it’s simple to release the brake. But how do we release guilt so we can roll along freely and feel the wind in our hair?
Denying guilt won’t help. My car will eventually go faster if I ignore the brake – once the brakes burn up. But who wants a car without brakes? If we ignore guilt, we’ll eventually eliminate our conscience. Wouldn’t that be as dangerous as driving without brakes?
God makes it possible to release the brake through Jesus. After three intense days of feeling guilt and fasting and praying about it, Paul was asked, “What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).
Wash your sins away? Could it be that simple? It is – except for the difficulty of trusting that the Lord will truly do that. But that’s the promise. That’s what he urges.
So, pop the brake and let it roll! See how much easier life is without the guilt.