Not too long ago, I listened to a TV talk show where guests complained about the treatment they’d received in a variety of evangelical churches. They were in counseling because of it. They related how family members had performed an intervention to bring them out of this cultish atmosphere of guilt, hate, and narrow-mindedness.
The talk show host went on to call evangelical Christians hatemongers, an intolerable group of people who thought themselves better than everyone else. He called for an abolition of such churches. His guests continued to talk about their experiences, relating stories of feeling guilty every time they stepped through the door to their church. Imagine!
For centuries, the work of the Holy Spirit has been disregarded or misinterpreted. Pastors either teach that the third person of our triune God is all-important or they teach that the Holy Spirit is a minor character, not important in the large scheme of things. In John 16, Jesus tells us in verse 7 that He must leave so that He can send us the Counselor. He goes on, in verse 8, to say, “When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment.” Does that sound as if the Holy Spirit is a minor character to you?
I believe His work is as important as that of the Father and the Son because He is God, the third person. His work is different, as Jesus explained. When a person seek a counselor, do they seek someone who will tell them only what they want to hear or do they seek someone who will tell them truth? A counselor is intended to speak truth, at least if that counselor is Christian. Sometimes truth hurts as it regards our faults and foibles. The Holy Spirit convicts us of God’s truth, and our feeling of guilt is the result.
Now I, for one, do not think that guilt is a bad thing. Obviously, those people on that talk show thought otherwise. Guilt brings me up short when I’m about to step into a mess again. It shows me that the path I’m on needs altering. It shows me that I need to adjust my thinking to coincide with that of my heavenly Father. And, since guilt is such an uncomfortable feeling, I deal with it post-haste so that I can accept the Father’s forgiveness and move on.
Satan has used guilt in the lives of God’s people to instill defeat, fear, and a sense of worthlessness. God wants to use guilt to train us in righteous living, to transform us, and to give us life abundant. The Holy Spirit, our Counselor, helps us face the truth of our lives. He injects truth where lies abound, and freedom from the tentacles of sin.
Take Him seriously. Acknowledge His power in your life and walk in His mighty counsel. Measure your steps, seek his direction, and thank Him for loving you so much.
For further study: 1 Thess. 1:5; Jude 1:15