Sometimes when we do something wrong we feel guilty instantly, sometimes we feel guilty before hand but still do the thing, sometimes we don’t feel guilty when we know we should. Sometimes we realise what we’ve been doing years was wrong, we discover the truth about where cheap meat comes from, and we are guilt stricken for years of ignorance. Lots of this is the Holy Spirit that’s living inside a Christian, but non-Christians aren’t immune from guilt.
So why do people feel guilty? Well, as already established we are convicted by the Holy Spirit. Is there any other way to feel guilty? Well to answer this i’m delving into the exciting and sought after truth revealed through the book of Leviticus. ‘Yawwwwwwwwn. leviticus? really?’ Leviticus has three chapters almost entirely dedicates to the topic (Chapters 4-6, but mainly 4 & 5).
It covers a whole lot on the topic. Firstly, a person isn’t guilty of some things until they realize it (Leviticus 5:3-4). It’s easy to get down thinking of all the sin we’re probably doing, but in reality if we didn’t know we did it, until we do know why should we be dwelling on things we might not have done? Conviction will come if we are seeking God, he will work on an aspect of us at a time. We won’t be made perfect in a day (unless you believe in entire sanctification). This isn’t to say you should never seek to know how to better please God, but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up so harshly over things we might or might not have done.
Secondly, a person is guilty of some things whether they realize it or not (Leviticus 5:17). There are some things which we are all guilty of, whether we realize it or not. I can almost guarantee everyone who ever reads this is guilty of breaking one of the ten commandments, even doing one in your heart is a sin. So we do all need to repent. Fortunately the things we are all guilty of are quite clear cut, as they were for Israel. Avoiding these sins should be easier because we know what they are.
So, sometimes we don’t know we’re sinning; like if you buy clothes from an unethical retailer but didn’t know and suddenly you’ve supported child labor or even slavery. It’s when we become aware of these things we repent, and we should always be seeking God who will make these things known to us. Everyone is guilty of some sin, furthermore of willingly breaking God’s commandments (whether we’ve realised it or not), and this is the sin we all need to repent from. There’s no point of repenting from unethical shopping if you only ever shop in charity shops, but that doesn’t mean we’re innocent.
Fortunately we have the Holy Spirit in us to guide our day to day decision-making. We also have the bible, which tells us some things in black and white. Have you been loving your neighbor less than yourself? Have you been putting things before God? We may be unknowingly sinning, but God’s grace covers us and he will in time reveal these sins to us, and we will realize our guilt. This happens when we seek God and know his word. Try not to beat yourself up too much, but do seek the kingdom and have faith in God’s mercy and grace.
God bless you and keep you always.