Guilt is never the end, its the beginning. The battle for truth never rages more strongly than when it comes to our guilt. But let's get real clear. This guilt is the result of sin. We are born missing the mark and even after being called out of darkness by God we, do in fact, miss the mark. Our hesitancy to own sin and guilt can be garden variety pride or it can also be the fear that we'll be left to sit in the mess we made. But guilt is never the end, not in God's economy. It's the beginning!
Life happens and that's why we need a savior - a liberator. The words of scripture are like glow sticks for weary Christ follower to stay on the journey with God. But sometimes it just happens. We become a derailed disciple. We make a choice that stinks to high heaven, say a word that crushes a spirit, or any thousands of ways we slip into the spiritual ditch. What now? Here's what John captured about our sin/guilt crisis:
"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
Just when we think "I've really done it this time", a miracle happens. Jesus steps forward. He is not only our savior, Jesus is our advocate. At the very moment when we come to grips with our sin and guilt we are reminded of the price that was paid by Jesus. Better yet, Jesus reminds God of our righteousness that is found only in him. Wow, what a God! The one who died for us is advocating for us. This kind of love can't be left on the shelf. Now should sin run wild since the advocate speaks? No way. But neither should we sit in the piles of our messes and wonder, "what now".
Do a "180 Now". The advocacy of Jesus needs to become a catalyst for radical faith. Turn from running and trying to hide our guilt. We need to step forward with the whole mess, no matter how big or small, and surrender it up to the one who paid for it all. God is calling. Come out from hiding. Bring all the sin and guilt with you. Offer it up to Jesus and let him do the talking. Enter into the joy of God and the true freedom we have in Christ.
I John 2:1