Guilt! It’s heavy. It’s paralyzing. And it can become all-consuming, threatening the one who suffers from it with feelings of isolation, unworthiness, and despair.
And then there’s grace. Amazing grace. God’s unmerited favor that washes away those taunting feelings and makes it easier to breathe again, to live again.
Guilt vs. Grace. It’s a roller coaster ride that we unfortunately often find ourselves on. We ask for forgiveness for our sins and we claim that we also forgive ourselves. We read the Bible, go to church and interact with others to experience the learn about and experience God’s love. But after all that, we still often fall back into the same guilt-ridden mindsets.
It can become a vicious cycle if we let it. But it doesn’t have to be so.
Christian Contemporary artist Matthew West captures the scenario quite effectively with Grace Wins, from his album Life Forever (Sparrow Records, April 2015). The song opens with poignant lyrics describing the guilt side of the house.
Ouch! That guilt is quite powerful. But that guilty sentiment doesn’t remain for long before grace enters to save the day, praise God, as West shares with triumph in this moving song.
The war is on. West continues singing that there is a fight over “sacred space.” But as we continue listening, it becomes apparent that the war is really not a war at all because, in the end, grace wins every time. Every single time. There’s “no more lying down in death’s defeat” and there should be much more “rising up in victory.” That is good news. Great news actually.
Great news for us as Christians. But it is also news that we should want to share with those who don’t know Christ. They need to know that God’s grace is available to them. They need to hear and understand Bible passages like Psalm 103:12, which says: “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Or Isaiah 43:25, which says: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
Hallelujah for verses like those and songs like these that remind us that we don’t have to be overtaken by guilt. We don’t have to feel like there is no hope for us. Let’s life our heads and lift our voices. Hallelujah! Grace wins!
Grace Wins (Live Forever, Sparrow Records, April 2015)
Artist: Matthew West
- In what area of your life does the battle between grace and guilt rage most fiercely?