You make a misstep, and it not-so-silently judges you.
You fall short, and it tells you you’ve disqualified yourself.
You’re not a “good” person.
You may even be the one who grace can’t actually change.
You should be ashamed.
You should cover up.
You should hide.
You are wrong and dirty and unworthy.
Your insides are ugly, and if the world knew the truth…
Feelings of condemnation are such tricky things to get rid of, and they plague so many of us. When condemnation comes, there’s a heaviness. A weight in our chest. A sinking dread in our gut.
Don’t get me wrong–God corrects us. He doesn’t just leave us in our sin. But the trouble comes when we begin to associate correction with condemnation. It’s something I also talk about in this post:
What Repentance is and is not
Condemnation is something that’s been ingrained into many of us (without actually naming it), making it difficult to let go. Some of us may have even been taught that those condemning feelings are essential to true repentance. But the Word teaches us the maturity of acknowledging our wrongdoing and repenting. One of the issues is that much of the church doesn’t explain what repentance actually is.
It means to turn. When we repent, we’re not groveling and begging forgiveness (something His Word promises He freely gives). We’re changing our minds. We’re turning away from the sin and toward God–more on that in a minute.
I’m not saying that asking forgiveness is a bad thing. But there’s a distinct difference between the way a son or daughter humbly asks forgiveness from a parent and the way a slave begs forgiveness from their master/tormentor. God is not our tormentor. But condemnation can be if we let it. We are no longer slaves but sons and daughters of God. That thought alone should change our posture.There's a distinct difference in the way a son or daughter humbly asks forgiveness from a parent and the way a slave begs forgiveness from their tormentor. We're not slaves but sons and daughters.Click To Tweet
Why Letting Go of Condemnation is Important
First, it’s hard to keep our hearts open to correction when we’re feeling condemnation. Condemnation breeds shame, and shame tells us to hide. Now can we actually “hide” from God? No. But we can close off our hearts because it’s too painful to look at our shortcomings.
Another reason why letting go of condemnation is so important: the voice of condemnation confuses our hearts and makes it harder for us to hear the voice of our Father. Since many of us picked up condemnation in church (well-meaning churches, I’m sure), we may even associate the condemning voice with God.
That’s why getting into scripture, understanding how to rightly divide it, and renewing our minds to it is so necessary.
Focus less on the sin and more on the Son
Focusing on our problems magnifies them. But God is bigger! Focusing on Him transforms us.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
That veil that was taken away? That was put there by the law.
But as His bride, He unveiled us. Now as we look into His glory, we are transformed so we look more like Him. The Holy Spirit makes the change within us. But our part is to focus on God.
The Message Bible words it like this in Romans 8:
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
We have this tendency to look at our problems. To pick at what’s wrong within us. But the Word is clear: the Son is bigger than our sin. And the only way to truly be transformed is to look to Him. He made a new identity for us. But it’s our choice whether we put it on or keep our old rags.
Verses to Renew Your Mind
The best way to really kick out condemnation and replace it with what God says is to renew our minds. We do that by continually meditating on verses that point us in the right direction. It’s something I’ve been focusing on a lot lately with the release of the 30-Day Soul Detox Challenge. You can find that here:
Here are a few verses to help settle in your heart that condemnation is not something God is placing on you but something He has fully freed you from:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:20
Whenever condemnation tries to pop into your heart, repeat the verse that brings you the most peace and silences the critical voice.
What other verses do you find give you peace and comfort when condemnation comes calling?
Until next time.
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