Quotes by Timothy Lane
We will give an account one day because we are accountable, and there is a standard. God is the One before whom we are accountable, and our lives will be compared against His perfect character. This is why we feel guilty, because deep down we know we are guilty. Our guilty feelings and sense of shame come because we have violated God’s good and wise commandments.
Jesus came and died in our place. He was our substitute. Because He was without sin, He was able to pay the penalty for our sins. His death for us means that we can be free from guilt and reconciled to God. Jesus’ death is the only real answer to our guilt.
Wrong ways to deal with guilt: 1. Deny that you are really guilty – “To stop feeling guilty, I need to throw off those antiquated standards [found in the Bible] and live by my own.” [Yet] what happens when you try to live by your own standards and you fail to keep even them? You are right back where you started. 2. Try to be a better person – Stop doing the behavior that is bothering your guilty conscience. [Yet] Most of us are not able to keep our [our resolutions] and our guilty feelings return. 3. Compare yourself to others – We…decide we don’t need to feel guilty as long as we can find someone who is acting worse than we are. [Yet] putting someone else down might give us momentary pleasure, but it doesn’t get rid of the nagging feeling that we haven’t measured up. [And when we realize our sin in doing this, it] just adds to our burden of guilt.
Forgiveness is a spiritual matter. The failure to forgive ultimately costs you heaven itself! It reveals an unforgiving heart and an unforgiven heart.
God may forgive me, but I can’t forgive myself. This statement may be another form of pride masking as false humility. God, the Judge and Arbiter in the highest courtroom, pronounces you “not guilty” by virtue of what Christ has done for you on the cross. But when you make this statement, you function as the judge and arbiter in a much lower court and overrule the higher court’s decision. This reveals contempt for God’s stature as the ultimate Judge. If you do not see your daily need of the mercy of Christ and do not experience it regularly, you will not extend it to others when they sin against you.
When you do not understand forgiveness as both an event and a process, discouragement and guilt can set in. This is because your decision to forgive may not immediately heal the hurt, lack of trust, and anger you have towards the person you have forgiven. But if you see forgiveness both as an event and a process, the discouragement and guilt are minimized. You know you have forgiven, even though you are also aware of your temptation to make the person pay for your offense. This awareness keeps you vigilant against sin in your own heart. It leads you to God for His cleansing and strength when you struggle with your attitude towards the person.