CRE2: Continual conversion sin, guilt, forgiveness and reconciliation1

God’s call to love

The Biblical idea of sin
(Genesis 3, 2 Samuel 6:6 – 8; Gen 4)

The universality of sin

Related imageAccording to the Bible, sin is not a quality or condition of soul that has revealed itself only in exceptional individuals like notorious offenders—prodigals, profligates, criminals, and vicious persons generally; or in exceptional circumstances, as for instance in the early ages of man’s existence on the earth, or among half developed races, or in lands where the arts and sciences are unknown, or in civilized communities where the local environment is prejudicial to morality; but a quality or condition of soul which exists in every child of woman born, and not merely at isolated times but at all times, and at every stage of his career, though not always manifesting itself in the same forms of thought, feeling, word and action in every individual or even in the same individual.

 “all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:12); “gone aside and become filthy,” so that “there was none that did good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3); in Isaiah’s time, that “all we like sheep had gone astray and turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6); in the opening of the Christian era, that “all had sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans3:23); and generally Solomon’s verdict holds goods of every day, “There is no man that sinneth not” (1 Kings 8:46), not even the best of men who have been born again by the Spirit and the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, renewed in their minds and created anew in Christ Jesus.

The origin of sin

According to Scripture sin first made its appearance in the angelic race, though nothing more is recorded than the simple fact that the angels sinned (2 Peter 2:4) and left their own (or proper) habitation (Jude 6), their motive or reason for doing so being passed over in silence. The obvious deduction is that the sin of these fallen spirits was a free act on their part, dictated by dissatisfaction with the place which had been assigned to them in the hierarchy of heaven and by ambition to secure for themselves a loftier station than that in which they had been placed. Yet this does not answer the question how such dissatisfaction and ambition could arise in beings that must be presumed to have been created sinless.

In the case of man, however, sin’s entrance into the world receives a somewhat different explanation from the sacred writers. With one accord they ascribe the sinful actions, words, feelings and thoughts of each individual to his own deliberate free choice, so that he is thereby with perfect justice held responsible for his deviation from the path of moral rectitude; but some of the inspired penmen make it clear that the entrance of sin into this world was effected through the disobedience of the first man who stood and acted as the representative and surety of his whole natural posterity (Romans 5:12), and that the first man’s fall was brought about by temptation from without, by the seductive influence of Satan, the lord of the fallen spirits already mentioned, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Genesis 2:1-6; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 2:2).

Upon himself it wrought immediate disturbance of his whole nature (as already explained), implanting in it the seeds of degeneration, bodily, mental, moral and spiritual, filling him with fear of his Maker, laying upon his conscience a burden of guilt, darkening his perceptions of right and wrong, (as was seen in his unmanly attempt to excuse himself by blaming his wife,) and interrupting the hitherto peaceful relations which had subsisted between himself and the creator. Upon his descendants it opened the floodgates of corruption by which their natures even from birth fell beneath the power of evil, as was soon witnessed in the dark tragedy of fratricide with which the tale of human history began, and in the rapid spread of violence through the pre-diluvian world.

The culpability of sin

That a penalty was affixed by God in the first instance when man was created, the Eden narrative in Genesis declares: “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17); and that this penalty still overhangs the impenitent is not only distinctly implied in our Saviour’s language, that apart from His redeeming work the world, i.e., every individual therein, was in danger of perishing and was indeed already condemned (John 3:16-18); but it is expressly declared by John who says, that “the wrath of God abideth” on the unbeliever (John 3:16), and by Paul who asserts that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Adam’s sin, in the sense that apart from their own transgressions they would be adjudged to spiritual and eternal death, it is manifest that Scripture includes in the just punishment of sin more than the death of the body. .

Jesus as a conqueror of sin
(Matthew 9:12 – 13; 15:19 – 20; Luke 11:40; 5:24; 15:7; 23:34; John 8:7; 9:3; 12:32)

The removal of sin

The ultimate removal of sin from the souls of the believing and pardoned is left by Scripture in no uncertainty. It was foretold in the name given to the Saviour at His birth: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, because He shall save His people from [“out of,” not “in”] their sins” [Matthew 1:21]. It was implied in the object contemplated by His incarnation: “He was manifested to take away our sins” [1 John 3:5]. It is declared to have been the purpose of His death upon the cross: “He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works” [Titus 2:14]. It is held up before the Christian as his final destiny “to be conformed to the image of His [God’s] Son” [Romans 8:29], to be presented “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” [Jude 24], and to be a dweller in the heavenly city “into which there can enter nothing that defileth” [Revelation 21:27].

The Scriptures say this ”For on the cross Jesus became sin” (This does not mean he became sin literally and this does not mean he became sin himself. We know this because he (Jesus) is sinless and perfect). What God is telling and showing us through this passage of Scripture is this “Jesus (himself) is the sin offering that we offer back to him (God) for the forgiveness of our sins. So remember people of the world, Jesus is not sin, he is the sin bearer and he is the sin offering. Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. What God was showing and revealing to mankind was this “Jesus Christ on that cross represented sin before God’s sight and before God’s presence. People of the world before God’s sight sin is shameful, ugly, and naked before him just as the sight of Jesus was on that cross. God views sin as abominable. What God was also revealing to us is that “All sin must be, and all sin will be condemned before God.”

Jesus bore the sins of the whole world on and in his body (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus himself (his body that is) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2) (Hebrews 7:27). So since Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and since Jesus bore the sins of the world on and in his body, and furthermore since Jesus represented sin on the cross, this ultimately meant when Jesus died, sin died, and when Jesus was buried, thus sin was buried. And also the eternal punishment (hell) that comes from sin died along with him. So once again when Jesus was buried this meant sin was buried and has been done away with. So in conclusion Jesus had to die because it was essential and it was the only way for sin to die. The only way for sin to die would be for Jesus to die for us. People of the world God condemned sin on and in the flesh of Christ. God punished Jesus on the cross for our sins by pouring his full wrath upon him. Jesus died, and this meant sin died and was condemned on and in the flesh of Christ. The only way for our sins to be forgiven would be for Jesus to substitute his life for ours and for him to shed his perfect life’s blood for us on the cross. And praises be to God the Father that he did this for us!

So in God’s eyes when you repent thus believing in Jesus’death, burial, and bodily resurrection, your sins have been nailed to the cross of Christ with Christ himself (Galatians 5:24), and your sins have died and been buried along with Christ himself.

Understanding the Christian sense of guilt

(Psalms 51:10; Ezekiel 11:19 – 20)

False sense of guilt

False guilt is a tendency to feel guilty even though you have not violated your values. You feel bad even though you have done nothing wrong. How is this possible?

To understand the purpose of false guilt, we need to realize the outcome of the guilt. What do we do or fail to do because of it? Then, we will be able to deduce its purpose.

Because of false guilt, you tend to:

•    Avoid doing things for yourself, even though they take care of others
•    Find it hard to be close to people because you don’t feel worthy
•    Fear taking bold action because you fear success (issue of deserving)
•    Explode with defensiveness when accused of something, avoiding solutions to problems
•    Feel mildly paranoid, as if you are being judged by others
•    Find some way to sabotage your success, regardless of what you want

To sum it up, false guilt keeps you trapped in a place of deprivation, where many of your needs as a person are not met. You can live there for a lifetime, unless you intervene.

Image result for sin

Is the purpose of false guilt to keep you trapped in deprivation, then?

False guilt blocks you from leaving that familiar, deprived place. As soon as you attempt to stop depriving yourself of love, success, respect and fair treatment, you begin to feel guilty. The guilt spoils things and you end up deprived again.

Deprivation is a psychological attachment. Babies and young children whose needs are not met become accustomed to deprivation, build a tolerance for it, and even attach psychological pleasure to it. As a result, you learn to unconsciously seek the deprivation to which you are accustomed. Your feelings and behaviors become a self-fulfilling prophecy that lands you in deprivation over and over.

False guilt is an unconscious tool to keep the deprivation alive. It boils down to self-sabotage, learned at a young age.

True guilt and the hope it confronts
True guilt is the negative feeling we have when we harm others. False guilt, on the other hand, is a negative feeling triggered by not living up to standards that are no longer realistic or because of things outside our control. For example, we may blame ourselves for getting sick or feel guilty because we think we are no longer contributing to our family or to society.

Here are some ideas of how to respond constructively to both types of guilt.

True Guilt
True guilt (guilt that arises when we have harmed others) can cause mental suffering if we feel stuck in thinking about what we have done, condemning ourselves. We can get unstuck by taking action.
One appropriate response to guilt triggered by actions which harm others is to apologize and make amends. For example, one person in our program said that if she does something to hurt her husband or her children, like lashing out at them verbally, she apologizes.
Another response to true guilt is to use it as a motivation for change. For example, some people in our program say that they have used guilt over canceling out on commitments as an impetus to be more consistent in their pacing in order to make themselves more dependable.
In sum, true guilt can be helpful if it motivates you to treat those around you with more consideration or to take better care of yourself in the future.
False guilt
1) Adjust Expectations
One kind of false guilt is triggered by a difference between a person’s expectations and their capabilities. For example, some people with CFS and FM may feel guilty because they are no longer the kind of parent they were before becoming ill or are not contributing to the family as they did earlier.

Such guilt can be reduced by adjusting your expectations to match your new level of functioning. As one person said, “I’ve lowered my standards for myself. This isn’t easy, since I’m a recovering perfectionist.” When self-condemnation is harsh, some people find it helpful to imagine how they would react if you they observed another person saying such things about herself.

2) Reframe (Change Self-Talk)

Part of the process of adjustment is changing our internal dialogue or self-talk, so that it supports our efforts to live productively with illness rather than generating guilt.

For example, one person says she has changed how she talks to herself about taking naps. In the past, when she took a rest, she told herself it was because she was lazy, but now she tells herself, “I am helping myself to be healthy. I am saving energy to spend time with my husband or to baby sit my grandchildren.”

3) Shift Attention
Feeling guilty is common, but we can control how we respond when feelings of guilt arise. One person said that she asks herself “Is this feeling productive?” In some cases, the answer will be “Yes.” Guilt can draw our attention to ways in which we have failed to live up to our standards and can motivate us to act differently. (See earlier discussion of true guilt.)
4) Educate Others

Some guilt may be triggered by how others treat you. Their lack of understanding may lead you to feel guilty about your symptoms or the limitations they impose.

Just as one response to false guilt is to adjust your expectations for yourself, another is to work on changing the expectations others have of you. This involves educating the people in your life, so they understand that CFS and FM are long-term conditions that impose significant limits and require adjustments.

5) Learn Assertiveness

Another strategy for reducing false guilt is to be assertive,speaking up for yourself, setting limits and saying “No” in order to protect yourself and avoid doing things that intensify your symptoms.

For example, you can teach your family and friends to respect your need for regular rest breaks and can make your limits clear by telling others how long you’ll talk on the phone, how much time you will spend at a party and so on.

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