Have you ever met a person who subconsciously, or even intentionally, did things to make you reject them? Perhaps a loved one they abused or a relationship they sabotaged by passive-aggressive actions and statements. Often, these people suffer from a wound of guilt. The purpose of their actions is a form of self-punishment. “I’m such a broken person, I’ll push you away to prove I’m such a broken person! I’ll show you how messed up I am!” It’s a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.
Hmmm. Take a look at Genesis 3:8: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Notice that when Adam and Eve sinned they hid from God’s presence. They didn’t have anything against God, so why were they hiding? They were punishing themselves, cutting themselves off from God.
A lot of people with a wounding of guilt say, “If I can’t get anybody else to punish me, then I’ll punish myself...” This is a definition of self-hatred.
“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:20-21)
If our own heart condemns us, it will affect our whole lives. Every facet of our day-to-day existence, from dealing with the people we know, our own internal thoughts, and even our relationship with God—all are tainted by a self-condemning heart. The enemy uses this to keep us wrapped up in a soulish prison of our own making, and we are hampered (in some cases, brought to naught) in the things we are supposed to accomplish in the name of loved ones, ourselves, and our God.
Now, look again, guilt can be useful. Proper guilt can lead us to repentance, and that’s a good thing. But once we have repented, guilt should be replaced by a sense of belonging, a sense of lightness, a sense of being cleansed and set free, not bogged down in the dark shadows of the past. If guilt doesn’t lead us to repentance, if we harden our hearts against it and hold out in the name of bitterness, stubbornness and rebellion or, in some cases, just downright foolishness—guilt can be turned by the enemy and used against us. Make no mistake, he’ll take whatever he can get to try and thwart you in your expression to God, to others, even to your own self-worth.
Did you know a wounding of guilt can obstruct the flow of physical healing? It’s a serious reason why many people out there can’t get healed in their physical bodies. They labor under a false notion of their hearts condemning them—that their forgiven sins are still a hindrance to receiving the blessing of miraculous healing. Perhaps you are seeking healing and not receiving it—and perhaps one of the reasons why is a wound of guilt.
“Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’ Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” (Mark 2:3-12)
Jesus forgave the paralytic man his sins. The Lord told him: “the penalty is remitted against you.” His debt was absolved; the man was exonerated before God. But also with that pardoning came the sense of guilt being removed. You know, it’s entirely possible (and I believe likely) that perhaps the man never would have walked if Jesus hadn’t first told him: “You are forgiven” and removed his guilt. This is why the Lord used this miracle as an object lesson for the disbelieving scribes. The man walking proved the Lord forgave him and released him from his guilt.
Look, a wound of guilt hinders our operation of faith. It restricts us from receiving miracles. That’s why the devil uses it against us—it bruises our heels...