Thank you all for your responses on social media and on this blog. I enjoyed reading your thoughts! When I considered posing this question it was a result of a thought I shared with a friend the week prior.
Here’s what was impressed upon me:
—Guilt turns you inward, conviction turns you upward towards God.
When I think about guilt I think about our internal thoughts about ourselves in relation to our behavior, past actions and even sometimes the perpetual consequences of our actions. We live in seasons of guilt when we are convinced that there is no recourse for our failures.
When I think about conviction, I consider it as the point in which I know my thoughts or actions have been sinful and I consider it a good thing. It’s the point in which I become aware of a clear fork in the road where I have the blessing to choose to make a shift in the right direction, before I settle into a season of guilt where I have lost sight of this opportunity and am instead trapped inside my feelings. Guilt keeps you buried, conviction sets you free.
Responding to conviction is courageous though. It requires the convicted to acknowledge a failure —to oneself, to God and maybe to another. This step of courage is followed by a HUGE win, because we are immediately set free from the bondage the secret sin would have otherwise held over us. This is not to say that we escape the consequences of our actions, but the guilt that prevents us from moving forward is no longer in our way.
One final thought: choosing to follow where conviction leads, paves the way towards breaking the chains of patterns of destructive behavior. I would rather bear the sting of conviction, than live in a cycle of ignorance that prevents me from living the life that God intended.
Well folks, these are my thoughts! I look forward to hearing more from you during next week’s Question of the Week!