Why Do I Feel Guilty When I Do What I Want to Do?

Melissa HendersonBy Melissa Henderson4 Minutes

Guilt. A feeling we may have when we’ve done something wrong. That nagging sensation of realizing we have fallen short of the glory of God. We are saved and forgiven through the blood of Jesus. Even when we try to live a life filled with purpose and to show His love and glory to others, there are times when we fail. We are humans. Mistakes will happen. Sin has the ability to fill any moment. So, if we know how to live and how to follow God’s guidance, then, why do we choose our own path at times? And how do we feel when we know the wrong choice has been made? Why do I feel guilty when I do what I want to do?

I remember being a young child and not always listening to the directions of my parents. Climbing trees that had weak limbs, leaving the front yard to venture out into the street, arguing with my parents when time had come to take a bath and get ready for sleep, and many other instances come to mind.

My parents set rules for my well being. I thought those rules were to put a damper on childhood fun. There were always consequences when I disobeyed. Whether a “talking to” or a “time out,” or a privilege being taken away, I always felt guilty when my parents gave the punishment. Often, I didn’t want my parents to find out what I had done. When they learned of how I broke the rules, the looks on their faces made me feel guilty.

As an adult, my decisions are not always the best. I want to make the choices that will please God. Yet, somehow that selfish impulse can take hold quicker than I expected. When I choose self over others, or miss worship service for no good reason, or express thoughts in a way that doesn’t glorify God, I feel guilty. Why?

I am a child of God. He loves me. He cherishes me. I know these things, yet, there are times I fail to honor Him. Because I love Him, and want to glorify Him in all my words and actions, I feel guilty when I fail.

Being a Christian gives me opportunities to share the love of Christ. When I make quick decisions and don’t go to Him first, I often fail. Again…guilt.

My morning begins with prayer, and I continue conversation with the Lord all day, and then, I pray before going to sleep. Prayer opens the door to a closer relationship with God.

On those times when I rush through each moment, and don’t rely on Him, life is not peaceful. When I do what I want to do and disregard His guidance, my days and nights are filled with stress and guilt.

God gives us mercy and grace in each moment. When we fall short, when we feel guilty for not relying on Him, we are given the ability to go to Him in prayer and ask for His forgiveness.

As a child of God, we want to honor Him and please Him. We feel guilty when we take the wrong path and make the wrong choices.

Yet, through Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Each day brings new mercies. Thank you Lord.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)

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