God does not work in condemnation, guilt, and shame. He doesn’t say, “Shame on you” but “shame OFF you.” Condemnation, guilt, and shame are tools of Satan meant to tear you apart. Satan is a thief and his goal is to steal, kill, and destroy your life (John 10:10a).
Jesus came for us to enjoy life in Him to the full in abundance till it overflows (John 10:10b AMP). Satan wants to condemn you in the sins, heartaches and hurts of your past. John 12:47says, “Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it”.
Conviction is God lovingly steering you back to Him. Just like a loving parent who steers their kids out of the dangerous street or lovingly disciplines them to protect and train them rightly, God convicts us through the Holy Spirit because He loves us. John 16:8 says the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. Conviction is a gift from the Holy Spirit. It is a good thing! It means God is still talking to you and drawing you back to Himself.
Condemnation loves to point out your failures and problems without showing you the forgiveness and solutions that come from Christ. Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Life in Christ, which includes conviction of sin, forgiveness, grace, mercy, compassion and love, gives you freedom and forgiveness from sin, failure, heartache and hurt. Satan loves to accuse the brethren (Revelation 12:10) and point out their failures. Jesus loves to forgive failure and sin and heal hurt and heartache. If we confess our sin Jesus is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). God will show you your sins but He won’t leave you in them. He desires to rescue you from sin.
Conviction is different from condemnation. Conviction is the person of the Holy Spirit showing you the error of your sin but also showing you the forgiveness of God at the same time. Romans 2:4 tells us it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. God isn’t trying to shame you and point out how much of a failure you are. He is, however, ready to point out your sin because sin is what separates you from Him. He desires for you to be in a close relationship with Him so He’s quick to lovingly point out solutions to the barrier of sin that comes between you and Him. Condemnation says, “Run away because of how much of a failure you are” but conviction says, “Run to Me (Jesus) because I love you and want to forgive you.”
True love, which originates from God (1 John 4:8), does point out sin for the sole purpose of restoration to Jesus and His Church. Someone who points out your sin to shame, condemn, or cause harm is not exercising Christ-like love. It is right to confront people in love in their sin. Galatians 6:1 tells us, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” We should approach someone in love with gentleness for the purpose of restoration to Jesus and His Church not for vindication or retaliation.
Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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