Following Jesus, Psalm 51 style is the theme of this blog. With that in mind, I am pleased to connect readers to a sermon by Matt Chandler on Repentance: Good Guilt. Matt is pastor of The Village Church in the Dallas area.
I listen to Matt’s sermons on my iPod. The other day I listened to this one about the difference between good guilt and worldly guilt. As I listened, Matt used the example of David’s sin with Bathsheba (and subsequent sins) to illustrate the kind of guilt that leads to repentance. This repentance is made evident by David’s prayer in Psalm 51.
Chandler discusses David’s cry to God,
Against you, you only, have I sinned (Psalm 51:4)
We are tempted to say that David sinned against Bathsheba, against Uriah and against the nation. Yet, David repents of his sin against God. In sinning against Bathsheba, Uriah and the nation, David demonstrated contempt for God and his provisions.
Good guilt causes us to stand before God as one who has sinned against a holy God.
Chandler goes on to point out that this kind of guilt leads to repentance. He defines repentance as an internal change of mind that leads to an external change of living. Contrast that with worldly guilt that shames us because we have been exposed as something less than what we desire our image to be.
As a fallen pastor, I wrestled with these kinds of guilt. At times I was surely more concerned with what I had lost — my wife, my relationship with family, my job, etc. I should have been consumed with my contempt for God and what he had given to me in life.
Chandler speaks of needing both aspects of repentance (internal and external). If one or the other is lacking, we lack true repentance. A change of mind without a change in living is what he calls “easy believism.” This leads to practices of worship and devotion that God detests.
When guilt only leads to changing behavior, we are left with either extreme frustration or with pride.
Proper repentance leads to salvation and life without regret. Chandler explains it this way:
Life without regret isn’t that there’s not hurt back there, shame back there, wounds back there. It’s that Christ has redeemed those things and now now used them to display His patience, His glory and His grace. That’s life without regret. So in the
Judeo-Christian belief system all guilt is birthed out of an offense towards God, is repented of, leads to salvation and a life of no regret.
Now, unless we have a totally seared conscience, we will experience guilt or sorrow. But it needs to be the kind of guilt that leads to repentance that leads to salvation and life without regret.
If it is not this kind of guilt, it is the worldly kind that leads to death. Chandler defines this kind of guilt as when we feel sorry because our sin has led to these things:
- Our sin backfires on us.
- Our sin humiliates us.
- Our sin brings punishment.
Some of us respond to guilt in the wrong manner. Remember that the right manner is to repent so that salvation and life without regret results. Some wrong ways to respond:
- We simply try to learn from our mistakes.
- We try to avoid the guilt by being busy.
- We can deny the guilt and dive into the thing that causes the guilt.
- We can blame others.
- We can dive into guilt and destroy everything in our lives.
I hope that you will either read or listen to Matt Chandler teach on this vital topic.
You may also want to read:
I would to read your comments about this teaching.