Guilt … Free   By: Lois Breit

Ever feel you need a trip to Chili’s just to escape all your feelings of guilt?  You know, they serve up the Guiltless menu there:  the guiltless chicken, always a favorite; the guiltless Black Bean Burger, which sounds wrong on so many levels; or maybe the Cedar Plank Tilapia, wonder if that’s farm fed or fresh water?  Well, who cares, I don’t have to feel guilty about eating it either way. 

Why do we always feel so guilty?  Because most single mom’s carry all the responsibility of their family, and responsibility breeds expectation, unmet expectation on any level breeds guilt, and guilt equals failure. I remember when I carried a boatload of guilt, some deserved, most not.  As I carried this guilt I found no joy in my life, no peace, no hope.  Guilt had drained the life out of me.

We all know the typical single mom’s guilt list:

  • The divorce was my fault.  If you’re not feeling guilty at the moment, just wait, someone will be sure to remind you it was your fault
  • It’s my fault my kids don’t have a dad.  If only I’d made better choices
  • If only . . . that’s never a good road to go down.  If only I had said, not said, done or not done … life would be different.  It’s all my fault!
  • I don’t spend enough time with my kids
  • I can’t volunteer at school the way I’d like to or used to
  • I don’t earn enough money, I can’t buy the things my kids want/need
  • It’s my fault my kids are in trouble (probably not). We can teach and train them perfectly and they can still choose to make bad choices.  There are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children
  • I eat too much and don’t exercise enough
  • I lost my temper again
  • I shouldn’t have bought that pair of shoes

Ready for that Guiltless menu yet?

There is never a shortage of things to feel guilty about; after all, none of us are flawless. But realistically ladies, you cannot control everything that happens to you or your children.  Other people actually do things, totally out of our control, that affect us.  So what do we do NOW?  Well, running to Chili’s for a ‘guiltless’ meal just won’t cut it!  God has a better and more permanent answer for us.

Romans 8:1 “Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.  Can one sentence from the Bible really relieve me of guilt?  Yes, especially when combined with Jesus statement on the cross, “it is finished” John 19:30.

But how does that work when we feel so guilty and full of condemnation?

Well, here is a simple thought that made Romans 8:1 a reality for me.  Am I (or you) really sooooo special that Jesus sacrifice on the cross brought forgiveness to everyone, except me?  Simple, yet profound. His sacrifice was for everyone, even me; it was final, it was complete “it is finished”!  That Truth meant I had to accept his forgiveness by forgiving myself (of both the real and imagined guilt I was carrying).  I had been wallowing so deeply in guilt, I’d gotten stuck – and couldn’t free myself.  Well, isn’t that why God sent Jesus?  To set us free, to restore hope, and to bring joy to the oppressed!  We can’t do it on our own, but Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross has done it for us, “it is finished”.  I could finally quit crying over spilled milk and move forward with my life.

Have you called on the Lord to save you from your guilt, shame and condemnation?  If so, it’s time to accept that He has.  Now it’s up to you to let go of it.  If you haven’t yet done so, it may be time to seek the forgiveness of your loving Father through Jesus Christ His son.  You’re life will never be the same…….