Guilt is like a boulder in the river that is my life. Guilt feels like regret, it feels like I’m at fault, that I’ve done something wrong. At times this is actually helpful because if I do something wrong my conscience, my wife, kids, friends and community should be able to say hey! Other times guilt gets it wrong. When I found out my sister had terminal cancer I felt guilt, as though somehow I should have been able to protect her as I always had, as her older brother. I’ve learnt that guilt never fades, it sits in my life like a boulder, impervious to me ignoring it, or when I try to keep busy, or when I try and cover it with being successful at work or kind to people. Whenever I’m quiet guilt whispers to me, it doesn’t leave me alone.
Jesus isn’t put off by my guilt. Countless times I read (in the Gospels) of him having dinner with guilty people and getting criticized for his mercy towards those who are obviously bad; who cheat, steal, are unfaithful in their marriage and are thus treated as outcasts. Christ loves seeking them out and embracing them with his friendship. That is my experience of Christ. He found me in the darkness of my guilt and befriended me. I can’t undo much of what I’ve done wrong, and I know that I continue to add boulders into my river. However, I don’t have to leave Christ waiting at the front door of my life while I clean up, I now realize that Jesus has come to clean up my life with me.
Whenever guilt whispers in my ear to get me to look at the boulders in my life I remember that I don’t need to hide them. Christ knows me, he knows I’m guilty, and he has promised that nothing will ever separate me from his friendship (Romans 8:38-39) not even the boulders of my guilt. If I meet you at the shops I can look you in the eye not because I’m a good person, or that I’ve dealt with my guilt but rather because Christ has overcome my guilt for me. It means I don’t have to do anything about the boulders in my life, it means I can get on with loving God and loving you.