Guilt is a spiritual cancer that’s ravaging the church of America. According to John Hambrick all too often Christians are motivated to serve out of guilt, not love.
“The last thing I think we need is some guilty church person who says, I’m feeling guilty so I’m going to go out to the soup kitchen on Friday and make sandwiches or something.”
We can’t follow Jesus simply out of guilt, it isn’t sustainable.
“I’ve looked carefully time and again, nobody in the whole New Testament and nobody ever followed Jesus because they felt guilty. Yet working with church people for decades now, I bump into guilty church people all the time.”
If you dig beneath the surface and ask people why they are involved it’s often out of guilt.
“When guilt becomes the motivation for moving toward the mess, what happens is it becomes all about me; it is very narcissistic.”
When our motivations are misguided, it hurts our witness and our effectiveness.
“I’m not there to help people and I’m not there to engage and get to know anybody on the street, I’m just there to make me stop feeling guilty.”
While the guilt might subside, our experience is still lacking.
“I don’t feel guilty anymore, but neither have I entered deeply into what God’s doing in that place. It feels like we’re being faithful when all we’re doing is self-medicating by serving the homeless.”
God’s love in us for others should motivate us to go out and be a light in the dark places of our world. The sky is the limit when it comes to the impact we could have on our world if we were motivated by love and not guilt.
John Hambrick is part of the leadership team at Buckhead Church, the urban campus of NorthPoint Community Church. His experience in Pakistan, London, South Africa, and inner-city Los Angeles has given him a unique perspective on what God is doing in the world. is his first book.
Key Scripture: Psalm 46
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