I’m going to stick with the sin and snow theme for another post.
Yesterday I wrote that here in Charlotte we received about 8 inches of snow and one inch of ice. Well, the wet snow combined with the ice was pretty darn heavy. Mid-morning I glanced out the kitchen window to see that our 10′ x 10′ gazebo, or canopy, had become crushed under the weight of the snow and ice that had accumulated on it over the previous 12 hours. I imagine that the age of the gazebo and its steel frame – 7 years – contributed to the gazebo buckling under the heavy weight of the snow and ice.
The guilt and shame of our sinful behaviors can do the same to us. It can crush us… if we allow it.
After Adam and Eve sinned, by eating from the tree in the center of the Garden of Eden, they both hid from God and covered themselves because of the shame and guilt they felt. Genesis 3 tells us this story.
“At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves. Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees.” Genesis 3:7-8
Sometimes, we can tend to feel do the same when we sin. We feel guilty of our behavior. Then the guilt can turn to feeling shamed as a person. We can feel unworthy and unlovable – even to God.
Here are two verses written by a Psalmist who understood this:
“My guilt overwhelms me — it is a burden too heavy to bear.” Psalm 38:4
“Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.” Psalm 51:9
Long-held guilt and shame can be bad for our health. The results of one study indicated that people who felt guilty had lower levels of immunoglobulin A. High levels of immunoglobulin A are associated with a strong immune system, and the ability to fight off illness. The researcher’s previous studies showed that people with low levels of guilt were less likely to go to the doctor, or to report suffering from colds or flu.
It can also affect us spiritually and cause us to become separated from God.
“Guilt can eat away at the spiritual vitality of a Christian like a raging cancer. It causes a person to lose control of life; it leads to a desire to quit or retire from spiritual activity; and, finally, it brings on physical pain and disease. Like cancer, guilt feeds upon itself until all spiritual life is gone, and the end result is weakness and a sense of shame and failure.” Davidson Wilkerson, World Challenge Ministries
So, if you do feel guilty because of doing things that you believe are not honoring to your body or to God, how do you handle it? You can ask for forgiveness from God. You can confess your sins to Him and to others. (James 5:16) This can give you a sense of freedom in your spirit and in your heart. This sense of freedom will have a positive impact on your health. That’s one of the values of the Christian walk. We can know that God does forgive us when we ask for forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us that through His son, Jesus, God has forgiven us. Here’s another relevant verse:
“You have forgiven the guilt of your people — yes, you have covered all their sins.” Psalm 85:2
This is a great reminder on Valentine’s Day.
God sent his Son to shed his blood for all our sins. Don’t let the weight of your sins burden you and cause you to feel guilt and shame. When you do experience guilt, confess your behavior to another person and to God. Ask God for forgiveness…. and He will forgive you.
Because our God is a loving God.
Additional blog posts about guilt, sin and health on the Faith and Health Connection ministry website.