“There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but to self-preoccupation.
Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride.
Lent is the time to break down this idol and to direct our attention to our loving Lord.”
– Henri Nouwen
Guilt is weighty isn’t it? It is the primary hammer that many of us in the evangelical church use to hit our own heads with over and over again. If guilt isn’t painful enough, Nouwen calls it idolatrous, prideful and downright sinful. Ouch. He has a good point though, doesn’t he? Haven’t you “wallered” in your guilt as a pig does mud in hopes that those you have harmed will truly understand how remorseful you are?
In terms of sharing our faith story with other people, Nouwen reminds me of the danger of dwelling too much on the far country of rebellion. Something in me wants you to know just how bad I really was and am. Why? (I’m still a work in progress). While rebellion is a key component to the story of the prodigal son, it must never trump the persistent love of the father who waits with robe and ring in hand.
May our awareness of sin push us to Jesus and nowhere else.