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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Letting Myself Off The Hook

Like many Christians, I struggle with the concept of forgiveness... Not necessarily forgiving, but being forgiven... I understand repentance and I know the difference between it and just confession... But what I have a hard time with is letting go of the guilt after I have repented... And the guilt tends to make me continue to think on the things I have already repented for and therefore still feel bad about them and hold onto them... Guilt weighs a lot, it's hard to carry it with me everywhere I go...

Last week, a friend told me that conviction comes from the Holy Spirit, and guilt is a tool of Satan's... At first I was confused, because guilt is a big part of the Catholic persona...

"And that guilt...
I don't know if you know about guilt."
~John Clasky
"Guilt, we know. We're Catholics.
We know."
~Cristina Moreno
from Spanglish (2004)

Not that I am Catholic, but my grandfather was, and somehow, it got ingrained in me early on that it was not enough to just say you are sorry, but you must feel bad about it too... I guess that just translated into my relationship with Jesus because that is what I grew up with... I went to see Clint Eastwood's Grand Torino shortly before this confusing conversation as well... If you want to know what physical absolution looks like, and can sit through 2 hours of racial slurs, go check it out...

I realize, that we as Christians don't need to go through these extremes because Jesus did it for us... The ultimate extreme... Died one of the most painful deaths imaginable willingly so we could have absolution through Him! So that we don't have to do it ourselves... Wow... Who am I to make that act be in vain... Why should I keep flogging myself mentally for things that are not in my control anymore... I need to let myself off the hook for the things I have been dragging around with me since High School!

You know, we learn a concept best when we share it with others... I guess I believed all of this, but I still wasn't ready to let go of my guilt... Even though it is heavy, I am comfortable with it... I know it, it's familiar... But when I was thinking about this today, I had the opportunity to share it with another friend who is struggling with guilt over things that are not in his control... That made me really "get it"...

I am working on letting go by telling people about the things I am guilty about... If I am not holding onto it, it can not hold onto me... So if I get into a brief moment of "TMI" with people, this is why... Even though I have confessed and repented to Jesus, I feel the need to get rid of my secrets... I am tired of them weighing me down...

Love you guys...

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