The Really, Great, Fantastic, News about… Guilt!

guilt pic

Guilt sucks.

Nobody likes to feel guilty.

Maybe you’re still holding on to guilt from something you’ve done in the past.

Maybe you are expecting someone to feel guilty for something they did.

Maybe you’re sick and tired feeling it every.single.time you choose to do “it.”

No matter who you are, and what you’ve done, let me be the first one to tell you this:

Guilt is good.

Guilt is liberating.

Guilt is awesome.

Now I didn’t think like this till I read the following sentence by Ellen White in her book, Steps to Christ, which shoved me down a rabbit hole from whence cometh the following thoughts. If you struggle with me during the first part of this post, I assure you’ll breathe in the next.

There are way too many people holding on to guilt or chained by it. If that is you, please keep reading. If not, still keep reading. 🙂

Here we go:

The Father loved us, not because of the great propitiation, but he provided the propitiation because He loved us” ( SC, 14).

As rhymy and cool sounding as this sentence was, I couldn’t help but wonder:

What on earth is a “propitiation?”

Looked it up. This is how Webster’s Dictionary defines it: To propitiate means to “gain or regain the favor or goodwill of.”

The context points out that Jesus Christ is the great propitiation given to man. The Son of God was given to gain the favor of God for fallen man. This is utterly profound. Let’s consider what this really means lest we gloss over this quickly.

In all fairness, the one who initiates and makes propitiation for the other is the abuser or perpetrator, not the abused or the victim. It is the abuser’s responsibility to take the blame squarely on his/her shoulders and propitiate. But according to the above sentence (and Scripture), God provided his only son – innocent, blameless, and sinless- as a propitiation to us.

But how can the innocent, blameless, sinless Son of God be made unto a “propitiation” for wicked, shameful, blameworthy lives?

The apostle Paul comes in clutch in 2 Corinthians 5:21:

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

In short, Jesus was made a sin offering for us by God. Jesus chose to take up the shame, blame, and pain that was mine, onto Him.
As one of my friends once mentioned, Jesus is the only being who chose to be born, but did that only after choosing to die.

So if Jesus chose to take the pain, shame, and blame of my sin on the cross, I don’t have to take it anymore! Because, according to Paul, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ – those who have chosen themselves over to be molded and restored to the likeness of Christ.

I am in Christ by grace through faith. He lives in me through the Holy Spirit. But I am not exempt from the weaknesses of my flesh as long as I’m in this side of heaven. I can still choose to sin if I want to. So when you and I choose to do something that is contrary to the will of God? The immediate response is guilt. And it sucks. Right?

Wrong.

It doesn’t suck.

Guilt is great.

Here’s where I connect the “what” of the first part to the “so what” in the second.

I hope it’s clear that Jesus ALREADY took my pain, shame, and blame onto himself at the cross. I have chosen to be IN Christ. When I choose to sin, therefore, even though it’s my responsibility, I don’t take the blame for it anymore.

Jesus does. Jesus takes the blame, shame, and pain.

The Christ in me takes the blame for my action. The Christ in me feels the hurt, the shame, and the blame. We kid ourselves when we think that the guilt we feel is our guilt. If we really felt our guilt in all its severity and substance, we couldn’t handle it. We would be dead.

Don’t believe me? Look at the cross. My guilt crushed Him. My guilt killed Him.  Not His.

This leads to the seminal point of this post:

Guilt is the apology of Christ in me.

When I am in Christ, The “feeling” of guilt I feel is actually not my guilt at all; what I feel is actually the guilt of Christ in me. The “guilt” I feel, is my guilt that Christ took on himself, blaring from the megaphone of the cross and echoing in the chambers of my heart with a soft whisper:  “I… am.. sorry..”

Jesus Christ, our Eternal Elder Brother, came not just to save us, but to identify with us. As our forever Pastor in heaven, he relates to us – not just in our holiness but also in our brokenness. The guilt I feel is him identifying with me – the voice of Him who was treated as we deserve so that we can treated as he deserves.

The more I am connected to the Christ in me, the more I hear his apology. Conversely, the less I am connected to Him, the less I feel his pain.

That’s why guilt is good. Because the intensity of your guilt is proportional to your connectivity to Christ. The more guilt you feel, the less you need to be concerned about your standing with God.

But Satan knows that too. Therefore, he has a single item on his to-do list every single day:

Misrepresent God.

This is his Modus Operandi, game plan, and reason for existence. When you choose to sin, he capitalizes on our culpability and downloads into our system a series of lies:

This is your fault”

“You should be ashamed of yourself.”

“You are worthless.”

“God can’t forgive you. This is too much.”

“How many times can you fall? God is tired of you.”

Do you think God can ever love you after what you did?”

When you choose to believe these lies, you begin to act according to them. Your attitudes towards yourself and God are fueled by your thoughts. The focus is on self. Another one bites the dust.

But guilt is good news! It is the voice of Jesus inviting you to come back to his arms open wide. It is the voice of a loving father who is waiting to embrace you, not condemn you. It is the voice of an elder brother who is waiting to give you a high-five and encourage you for getting back up.

Guilt provides you the opportunity to glorify God by returning back to him.

So dear reader, I don’t what you have gone through. I don’t know what you have done. I don’t know how you feel. But I do know that God has already paid the price for you and his grace is ever present for those who are willing to receive it. As Jerry Bridges puts it, your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the need of God’s grace, and your best days are never so good that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace.

In Christ, you are so connected to him; So much so that you literally feel his aching heart longing for you.

Still feel guilty? Good. Run to him. He is waiting for you.

Scroll below to leave a comment, share post, or follow via email! 

Post #GCSA15: 5 things Adventist Millenials can do after the General Conference

GCSA2015

It. Is. Finished.

Now what?

These are 5 things that you and I can do in light of, and in response to, what has happened.

1) Speak up.

Even Twitter didn’t see it coming – the interactive contribution of SDA millennials across the globe displaying the most effective use of a hashtag I’ve seen till date.

If Twitterverse has told me anything during the past week, it’s this:
Millenials have a voice. And we want to be heard.

So speak up. Raise your voice. Do whatever it takes to shake up the status quo, either in your local congregation or community. Do so in a manner that shows the clearest picture of Jesus.

And lest we forget: Few millennials with a relevant message spoke up once with a passion fueled by the fire in their bones.

Now they are 18 million strong. And growing.

2) Get connected to your local church.

Our current demographics within the Adventist church reveal that we are not the church of tomorrow, but the church of today.  In light of that fact, the gross under-representation of young adult delegation at the GC could evoke in us one of two responses:

1- Express angst and continue to find reasons as to why we should have been better represented, or

2-Ensure our representation in #GCI2020 by getting plugged in now.

This is what Elder Gilbert Cangy, the youth director for the General Conference, had to say when interviewed about the process of becoming a delegate at the General Conference session:

“The General Conference, as an entity, does not choose delegates. The delegates are chosen as close as possible to the local churches. It only makes sense to trust the leaders closest to the local churches to know the individuals who can contribute in a significant way to the (future and direction) of the church (at large). Each division of the world church ensures the credibility of its delegates by “screening” them through the responses of union presidents and local church pastors.”

He later went on to say that when a young adult is faithful to the principles of our faith and is an affirming, empowering voice at the local church level, chances are that he or she will be noticed by other local leaders as someone who has the best interest of the church at heart. After that, it’s only a matter of time till their name is referred for nomination.

All this tells me that the surest path to becoming a delegate at the GC session always starts at the doors of your local church.

Get involved at your church. Lead a ministry. Be proactive.

3) Be informed

The GC session can be a cure for “denominational myopia.”

 Let me unpack that.

As millennials, we have a high-functioning radar which detects anything from an ugly logo to an inefficient system. Scrutiny and critique can oftentimes be effortless.

So let me be the first to admit that it’s easy for me to get distracted by something that happens to me at church and indiscriminately color my perception of the church at large with a large, hairy, brush – all the while not realizing that I’ve haphazardly colored over some other things as well.

Myopia is simply being hyper-focused on what lies nearest to you that you fail to include the larger context. And I was myopic about my denomination.

Experiencing the GC, albeit for two days, significantly lessened this myopia by exposing me to the larger context of the world church.

Listening to the division reports, interacting with those from other cultures and nations, and seeing God’s activity among them showed me that the ‘church’ is more than just what happens to me in my local church.

The GC reminded me that the ‘church’ is bigger than its issues.  The more I was informed, the less myopic I became. The more I got to know the larger context, the less I reacted to the smaller ones.

What we do is greatly impacted by what we are up against. Therefore the more we are informed about what’s happening in our local congregation, community, and the global Adventist community, the better we are suited to be game changers for the Kingdom.

4) Find a Christ-centered mentor who has your best interest at heart.

Nuff said.

5) Dig deeper into Scripture.

As I was scrolling through my twitter feed on the day of the big vote, I couldn’t help but wonder:

What if millennials were half as engaged and committed to spending time in Scripture as they were on their Twitter feeds?

What would that look like? How would that look like in their personal lives and in the lives of their communities?

Iconic theologian and author A.W Tozer once made this provocative statement:

“Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.”

Boom. *drops mic*

Friends, we are not just millennials but Seventh-Day Adventist millennials: a special group of people who have been entrusted with the end-time message of a living Savior to be shared with a dying world.
For us to be bold in the world, we need to first be humble before God in the prayer closet. The more we dig deeper into Scripture, the more leverage and arsenal we have along with the adults and leaders of our church.

Our cultural relevancy is largely dependent on our Scriptural fluency. When we are well-versed in Scripture, not only are we able to speak the language of other demographics within our denomination, but we become better influencers of those outside of it.

A lot of hurt and frustration has understandably ensued in light of Wednesday’s vote. I am right there with those who are disappointed. I’m sure those who are at the brink of leaving have legitimate reasons for doing so. If that’s you, my friend, I appeal to you sincerely – We need you and your pain. Some of the biggest turnarounds and movements in history occurred when a small group of people harnessed their collective dissatisfaction in effective and constructive ways. If you want to move forward, these 5 steps maybe a start. If not, hit me up. Let me listen.

These are just 5 things. What are YOU going to do after this session? Please leave a comment in the spaces below!

(pic courtesy of http://www.nadsecretariat.org)