Have you ever felt guilty for not giving more? If you have financially supported a ministry in the last year, it is likely you will be asked to give more during this holiday season and year end. Ministries are doing their best to reach their goals in fundraising, and provide for an increased need this time of year. When you are being asked by so many in need it can be hard to decipher what to give, how much to give, what the Lord is calling you to do with his resources…and it can even make you feel guilty at times that you are not doing enough!
The resolution to these feelings of guilt will be unique and personal, and you can find it through (1) Knowing how the Lord uses guilt in our lives and (2) Making sure our conscience is educated.
1. How does the Lord use guilt?
In our culture, guilt has a very negative connotation associated with it. Pastor and educator, John McArthur goes so far as to say we have declared war on it! Is has been used inappropriately for ages throughout religious organizations, society, family, relationships and, as a result, we have lost the respect and usefulness it can have in our walk with the Lord.
God designed us with a conscience to help us! Ignoring guilt is one of the most dangerous things we can do because it is a warning sign that we may have entered into sin. Many have ignored guilt for so long that they have a hard time even recognizing it – and have lost the use of the invaluable ally God designed within us to keep us from sin.
However, we can experience false guilt due to a lack of education.
The conscience was designed to bring legitimate guilt from a real offense to God. If we have not educated our conscience through the Word of God, we will easily fall prey to guilt and shame from the enemy. If we rely on our feelings without divine truth, our conscience can accuse us falsely.
Guilt vs. shame:
Satan uses guilt to shame us, to render ourselves useless – stuck in past failures. In many cases this is why our culture has such a strong opposition to guilt – they are getting it confused with shame. Guilt is a loving tool created by the Father to steer us away from destruction and the death of sin. Shame is a tool that Satan uses to keep our focus on our past sin…and prevent us from being useful to the Kingdom.
2. How do we educate our conscience?
You can educate your conscience by learning what God has to say! In this case… what God has to say about our money. If you are a particularly sensitive or emotional person you may be more prone to false guilt or shame.
It is important not to let your feelings control your actions. Take those feelings captive, compare them to the Word and ask the Spirit to reveal any sin that your conscience has brought to your attention. If it is false guilt… (doesn’t match up to God’s word or is accusatory – based on your past) let it go! And then ask him to reveal to you what he wants you to do with what he has entrusted to you.
Free Download: Contentment Tensions Map
Are you content? Use this contentment map by Kingdom Advisors as the beginning of a bigger conversation that you have with your spouse or with the Lord about where you stand in light of the opportunity to experience greater contentment. This tool is not designed to be an assessment, but rather a conversation starter and a tool that begins to open doors to greater levels of contentment in your roles, relationships, and financial decisions.