Christian Living

soultransformation 01/27/12

Don't Feel Bad

I often talk with pastors and other servants of the Lord who judge themselves harshly. I tell them, “Don’t feel bad. Feel sad.”

God never wants you to linger with bad feelings about yourself — even if you sin. This may be a new thought for you. It may sound like I’m contradicting the teaching of the Bible. If so then you to take to heart the Apostle Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 7:8-13 where he contrasts “worldly sorrow” and “godly sorrow.” The Apostle Paul was the greatest of all psychologists, second only to Jesus Christ himself.

Why it’s Bad to Feel Bad

Nothing good comes from shame. When we condemn ourselves for our sins, failings, or struggles it pulls us down, down, down into depression and isolation, further and further away from the mercy of Christ and the care of people. Shame sucks the joy of the Lord out of our lives, suffocating us and rendering us incapable of loving God or other people. Shame is worldly sorrow.

It’s necessary that we feel convicted by our sin, realizing that we’ve separated ourselves from God and been unloving to him or another person (including our own self). But how do we respond to the awareness of our shortcomings?

Don’t slide down into guilt, judgment, condemnation, shame, and self-hatred! God doesn’t want that for you. Instead, God would have us respond to our awareness of sin with sadness. ”I’m disappointed that I didn’t express love for God… I wish I would’ve willed good for that person and been kind… I am sad that I reacted with such anger… I missed out on appreciating the blessing of Christ with me and sharing that…”

When it’s Good to Feel Sad

It’s helpful when conviction of sin leads us to feel sad because godly sorrow inspires us to reach out for Christ’s hand of mercy that will pull us back up to our feet. Godly sorrow produces a longing for the righteousness that comes from God. Godly sorrow leads to salvation, being reconciled to Christ and helped to become more like him. Godly sorrow  becomes empathy for God and the people we’ve hurt and when we understand others we are in position to love them.

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Believe it.  Take it to heart. Be sad about the sinful part of you that hurts God, others, and yourself. Plan now that the next time you fail you will not wallow in self-recrimination, but will immediately cry out, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:13, 38).

More Soul Shepherding

Does life feel hard to you? Jesus said his yoke is easy. My book, You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke, explains how you can live freely and lightly with Jesus as you deal with guilt, shame, and other stresses.

In “The Curb of Shame” I explain the wisdom in Martin Luther’s controversial exhortation to “Sin boldly!”

Check out our article archive “Overcoming Problems” and find the articles under the categories “Depression” and “Low Self-Esteem.”

You can sign up to receive our free Soul Shepherding Devotionals by e-mail.

Soul Shepherding is for you and your ministry. SoulShepherding.org

Are you on Facebook? I invite you to be my friend and seek Christ’s face with me there and on Twitter .

Bill Gaultiere, Ph.D. & Kristi Gaultiere, Psy.D. ~ http://www.soulshepherding.org

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