“Don’t be angry with yourselves.” Ge 45:5 TLB
Joseph told his brothers, “Don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me…God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive, so that you will become a great nation” (vv. 5, 7 TLB). When are we most likely to lay a guilt trip on others? When we’ve forgotten the grace we ourselves received from God. Often, it’s your forgiveness that makes it possible for others to forgive themselves! Self-forgiveness is a high hurdle for most of us. Paul wrote, “I…wasted [the church]” (Gal 1:13). He uses a mafia term for killing people. Now he goes back to those same towns and preaches, and who’s in the audience? The widows and orphans! If Paul hadn’t learned to receive God’s grace he could never have fulfilled God’s will. Some ancient societies punished murderers by strapping the victim to their back. Paul may have had this in mind when he wrote, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Ro 7:24 NIV). Nothing is heavier than guilt. It will: (1) Drag you down. (2) Cause you to leave a bad taste wherever you go. Even your friends will become exhausted and say, “Get over it.” (3) Destroy your relationships. Who wants to be around someone that’s obsessed with a corpse? You’d only be using the new relationship to numb the pain of the old one. (4) Destroy your health, because you aren’t built to carry resentment. Cut it loose! Somebody said, “Everyone should have a special cemetery lot in which to bury the faults of friends and loved ones.” Grieve if you need to—then bury it and move on!