Following last Sunday’s sermon, there’s one more thing we should talk about concerning guilt: false guilt. Psalm 51 discusses how to pray through true guilt, but there are plenty of times in life that we feel guilty when we’re not truly guilty. Sometimes people falsely accuse us. Sometimes we feel a sense of shame and misinterpret that as feelings of true guilt. Sometimes we’re treated like outsiders, made to feel as if we’ve done something wrong just because we are different. In these situations and others, it’s vital to realize that false guilt is just that: false. So, how do we deal with false guilt? Here are a few suggestions: 1. Apply the Gospel. You are, right now, 100% justified in Jesus Christ. No false accusation can change that. Apply the Gospel to your feelings of false guilt, so that you remember your true identity is in Christ. “For freedom, Christ has set us free!” (Galatians 5:1) If Jesus died to free us from true guilt, how much more does he desire to free us from false guilt? 2. Establish boundaries. Who or what is causing the false sense of guilt? Once you figure that out, establish some sort of boundary to protect yourself from further damage. You can simply refuse to speak about certain issues with someone who makes you feel guilty because of your convictions. Or, if necessary, you can make some physical distance between you and whomever is falsely accusing you. These boundaries are to help you preserve your dignity and health. If you need help establishing boundaries, please reach out to the elders for prayer and guidance. 3. Lean into community. Whatever the cause, you need Christian friends who will remind you of the truth. Sometimes we need a sounding board to help us determine if there is true or false guilt at play. Sometimes we need a confidant to help us process a painful experience. Sometimes we need an advocate to help us establish safe boundaries. Sometimes we need a supporter to remind us who we are in Christ. Lean into community to defeat false guilt. God does not want His children to suffer from false guilt. As you apply the Gospel, establish boundaries, and lean into community, trust that God forgives you, and He loves you unconditionally in Christ.
Other Scriptures for coping with false guilt or false accusations: Psalm 17 and Psalm 43.