Are You Tired of Feeling Constantly Guilty?


How do you deal with feeling constantly guilty? Maybe you committed a sin long ago, such as cheating or stealing. Maybe you didn’t do anything wrong and yet you feel constant guilt for some unknown reason.

Or maybe you feel guilty because you feel like you failed someone. Maybe you didn’t say yes when someone asked for a favor, and you don’t know how to say no as a Christian without feeling guilty. Maybe you hurt a loved one by accident or even on purpose. Maybe you weren’t there when someone important needed you…or you weren’t there when someone you love died.

“I can’t remove this constant guilt I have for life because my mother more than anyone should still be here enjoying it,” says a She Blossoms reader on Dealing With Guilty Feelings When Your Mom Dies. “Nothing has been the same since she left and I miss her so much it physically hurts. Why do should I get to enjoy all the things I know my mum would have loved? I constantly feel guilty for not having a family while she was alive, not getting married or settling down. I feel constant guilt that I didn’t do enough mother-daughter things with her because I took for granted that we would have all the time in the world. I was upstairs asleep when my  mother passed away. Although I had been with her holding her hand at the end stages, I was not with my mom when she took her last breath. I hope she didn’t feel scared or alone. I just don’t know how to live on without her. The constant guilt is eating me up inside every day.”


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As an outsider, you can see that this reader has nothing to feel guilty about. Her mother died alone, but that wasn’t because the reader did something wrong or committed a sin! In fact, her mom may have died alone because she wanted to die alone. Her daughter is dealing with constantly feeling guilty for something that her mother may have wanted — or even planned all along. Some people want to die alone because they feel tethered to their loved ones and uncomfortable or even anxious about dying with their family present.

You can objectively know something is true (eg, you may believe in God) but not internalize it so it actually changes your life (following Jesus, listening for the Holy Spirit, and dealing with feeling constantly guilty).

3 Ways to Deal With Constant Guilt

How do you deal with feeling constantly guilty? Whether you’re dealing with guilty feelings after your dog dies or shame because of a past sin you haven’t confessed, how do you get over the past and move on with your life?

This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. I’m moving through the book of Leviticus now; today the focus is on Leviticus 5: the Sin Offerings that God told Moses to share with the Israelites and priests. Guilt and atonement was the focus of this chapter.

1. Let your guilty feelings arise and be known

How to Deal With Constantly Feeling Guilty Leviticus 5 Blossom Tips
How to Deal With Constant Guilt

“If someone incurs guilt in one of these cases, he is to confess he has committed that sin,” God told Moses in Leviticus 5:5-6. “He must bring his penalty for guilt for the sin he has committed to the Lord: a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement on his behalf for his sin.” God didn’t tell Moses that the Israelites had to be aware of their sin, confess their guilt, and bring a sacrifice for atonement for God’s sake. Rather, guilty Israelites were supposed to confess their sins and make sacrifices so they could be cleansed, purified, and forgiven. They wouldn’t deal with feelings of constant guilt or shame because they were made right in the eyes of their fellow Israelites, the priests, and God.

If you haven’t named your “sin” and brought it into the light, you will keep feeling guilty. Whether or not you did something wrong, if you keep hiding you will never get over the constant guilt. It will stay deep in the dark pit of your soul, eating away at your joy, peace, light and life. The irony is that you may have done nothing wrong — like the daughter who feels constantly guilty for not being there when her mom died. Our pets can be a huge source of guilt for many people — especially owners who have to re-home or surrender their dogs. Or maybe you did do something seriously wrong (steal from your grandfather), immoral (cheat on your husband) or even evil (deliberately harm a human or animal). Regardless of what you feel constantly guilty for, you must bring it into the light before you can deal with it.

2. Involve someone you trust in the healing process 

Leviticus 5 tells us exactly how Moses and the priests mediated between God and the Israelites. Lots of bloody sacrifices — and even less expensive sacrifices such as a handful of flour (minus the oil and frankincense, for they were sacrifices of joyful worship). The Israelites couldn’t deal with their sin and guilt on their own; they needed an intermediary or mediator who could approach God on their behalf. For Christians, Jesus Christ is that mediator. He is the one who goes between believers and God, who makes it possible for Christians to live by the Holy Spirit and approach God with freedom, awe, reverence, love and joy. 

Your guilt needs air, space, light, and breath. Your guilt needs a witness. If you want to stop feeling constantly guilty about something you did, you must bring it to someone. As a follower of Jesus, I brought my regret, guilt and shame to God every day for a long time. I tried so hard to forgive myself, to receive God’s forgiveness, and to deal with my feelings of constant guilt and shame. Nothing worked, not even confessing my sins to God and asking Jesus Christ to heal me. How did I finally deal with constant guilt? I grew into a strong relationship with the Holy Spirit (whom I call Ruach or Roo-Roo sometimes). I learned the depth, width, length and height of God’s wild, reckless, free love for me. My identity changed, and that changed my heart. And my heart changed everything — including the constant guilt that I dealt with all the time.

3. Decide how you will respond to God’s call on your life

Here’s more of what Moses heard God tell him and the Israelites in Leviticus 5:2-4: “Or if someone touches anything unclean—a carcass of an unclean wild animal, or unclean livestock, or an unclean swarming creature—without being aware of it, he is unclean and incurs guilt. Or if he touches human uncleanness—any uncleanness by which one can become defiled—without being aware of it, but later recognizes it, he incurs guilt. Or if someone swears rashly to do what is good or evil—concerning anything a person may speak rashly in an oath—without being aware of it, but later recognizes it, he incurs guilt in such an instance.” Notice how God allowed the Israelites freedom until they realized they had sinned and were guilty. When a man or woman realized they were guilty, then they had to make a sacrifice and atone for their sins. But if they didn’t know they were unclean (sinful), they didn’t have to deal with guilt.

You feel constantly guilty for a reason — but that doesn’t mean you did something wrong. The accuser (the devil) is constantly prowling, always looking for reasons to make you feel guilty, bad, stupid, mean, evil and wrong. The accuser is a liar who wants you to feel terrible about yourself. God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the exact opposite! God wants to love you fully and freely. Jesus Christ died so you wouldn’t have to feel constantly guilty. The Holy Spirit is hovering, or perhaps already working any our own spirit. Your feelings of guilt can drive you to constantly feeling terrible and ashamed, or they can drive you to the foot of the cross.

This blog post wasn’t supposed to give you a definite answer to the “how do I deal with constant guilt?” question. How you approach God with your feelings is between you and Him. But the most important thing is that you respond to His call on your life. Don’t let your guilty feelings rule you, waste your life, and destroy your soul. Instead, respond to God’s love, peace, light and joy

Learn what this means. If you feel confused, comment below. Ask questions. Even better, talk to Christians or perhaps even your pastor or a counselor. Find out how to live in freedom, joy, love, peace, patience and light…because that life will heal you for now and ever.

With His love,

Laurie

P.S. If you feel guilty all the time even though you did nothing wrong, read Is God Punishing You for Something You Did?

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6 thoughts on “Are You Tired of Feeling Constantly Guilty?

  • Edna

    Thank you Laurie for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Your article is God inspired and spoke to me in a personal way. I will re-read your message and tips over and over to help me grow stronger in my relationship with the God. had read Billy Graham’s book on The Holy Spirit about 30 years ago. I should dig it out again or read one of the other books you had suggestrd. I loved the book on the Holy Spirit Billy Graham had written. It is true what you say “knowledge does not transform us” and yet that is what the secular world would want us to believe.Thanks Laurie. I look forward to more of your inspirational writings.

  • Laurie Post author

    Edna, I recently read that the hardest thing for us to do is really know and accept God’s love! I was surprised to read this, but the more I hear from my fellow Christians, the more I believe it’s true. We have such a hard time truly believing God loves us and forgives us. We have enough information in the Bible, but we aren’t transformed or changed by knowledge.

    The key is transformation. Prayer through the Holy Spirit has the power to transform how we think, believe, and feel. I don’t know how it all works, but God can and does change us! We participate by being in His presence. I’m learning how to simply be silent in His presence, just to walk down the street being aware that every breath is God’s name. “Yahweh” — I breathe in the Yah, and out the “Weh.” My breath becomes a prayer, and I am just soaking in His presence. It’s quite powerful, and requires no thinking. Not thinking is hard, but it gets easier and easier to just breathe and allow healing and love to flow.

    Another thing that helped me was learning more about Jeremiah, who was one of God’s prophets. You should read how devastated God was when His people turned away from Him! He was absolutely grieved and heartbroken; all He wanted was His people to turn back to Him and receive His love. They couldn’t do it; they ran after their own gods, images, thoughts, desires. And we do that too. Focusing on our sins, regrets, weaknesses and flaws is just as sinful as running after false gods.

    I don’t know how it happened, but I no longer believe the lies. I really do believe I’m GOOD! And if I can believe that after all I was told growing up, so can you. It’s a process, though — and it does take time to figure out what works for you. Healing takes time. Your heart and spirit are healing; it takes time to stop the obsessive old ways of thinking, and get into the groove of healthy new thoughts. But it’s possible, and you will LOVE the freedom, joy, grace and peace that comes with simply choosing to be loved by God. So good.

    Here’s the article – thank you for inspiring me to write it!

    10 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship With the Holy Spirit
    https://blossomtips.com/how-to-strengthen-your-relationship-with-the-holy-spirit-leviticus-6/

    Love,
    Laurie

  • Edna

    Thank you, Laurie. It is amazing how God works. I really needed to hear your encouraging words. I have been told before that I am hard on myself so maybe I need to lighten up a little and not take myself so seriously. For examble , just this morning I tried to do what you do. I tried talking and praying to God by going down memory lane reminding Him of the past experiences we shated. I started out okay but then it ended up with me reminding Him of everything that is wrong with me. I guess the accuser somehow slithered his way into my private conversation with God. God loves me and rembers my sins no more, I truly believe that.

    I look forward to your article on the Holy Spirit. You are so gifted and I love reading what you write…which is saying alot about you as a writer as I am not a reader.

    I feel I know alot about you and would cherish the opportunity to meet you. Who knows maybe we will meet each other one day and I hope it is before we meet in heaven.

    You are a good friend and mentor. Blessings and love, Edna

  • Laurie Post author

    Edna, hello! What a great question. And funny, because God created formulas for lots of things, except His own self! ha ha

    For me, growing into a strong relationship with the Spirit – who I call Ruach or sometimes Roo-Roo – first involved thinking of Him as a person. This is weird and even difficult, because I wasn’t taught much about the Holy Spirit. I was taught about Jesus’ miracles and parables, and a bit about God…but I only started learning more about the Spirit in the past few years. And I just learned His Hebrew name (Ruach) about six months ago! Maybe it’s been a year already. So that was the first thing, to think of the Spirit as an actual PERSON, like Jesus and God the Father.

    And another thing that has changed my heart and self-identity – especially in relation to dealing with regret and guilt – is reminding myself every day that God, Jesus, and Ruach love me so much! I am good, beloved, and created for a specific purpose. So were you!

    Here’s what I found a week ago, which I now read every morning:

    “Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them:
    Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.” ~Pablo Picasso (1876-1973).

    You are GOOD, Edna, and so am I! God created us, breathed on us, and let us live in freedom. Yes, we make mistakes and even cause terrible pain to other humans and creatures. Sometimes we even accidentally cause death. Can you imagine what it’d be like to be a surgeon, or driver who accidentally ran someone over? I was on a train once in Austria; we hit and killed a man on a bicycle. It was terrible, the man’s body was literally just outside my window. So sad. My heart still aches for the conductor. How terrible he must have felt.

    Anyway….I think I’ll write a whole article on how to grow into a strong relationship with the Holy Spirit because I have too much to say here!

    Edna, you are a treasure and I am so glad to have met you online. We’re kindred spirits! You have a good heart, and you are WAY too hard on yourself. I hope we do get to meet in person one day. You never know….Calgary really isn’t that far 🙂 Bruce and I will be in Edmonton in June, for his mom’s 80th birthday party. We’ll only be there for 3 nights, so no time for Calgary on that visit…but who knows what the future holds!

    With love from my good heart to your good heart,
    Laurie

  • Edna

    Hi Laurie: How did you grow into a strong relationship with the Holy Spirit? I don’t imagine there is a formula. I have always known that the Holy Spirit lives within us when we be receive Christ into our life as our Lord and Savior. I believe that the Holy Spirit convicts us and directs us to be like Christ. I also believe that the Holy Spirit’s is self-effacing as it is His job to promote and lift Jesus up so that our attention is on Jesus.

  • Laurie Post author

    I forgot to mention that the Israelites had to constantly atone for their sins to deal with their guilt! The sacrifices would’ve been expensive, time-consuming, and horrible — and that was the whole point. The idea was to help the Israelites stay “clean” and live righteously, like God’s holy people. Set apart. Different. Chosen.

    But it didn’t work. The guilt kept coming back, constantly.