Of Guilt and Directions


A situation arose recently in my church where we were praying for healing for one of our members, and God told me - in these actual words, i.e. this is a direct quote: "She needs to forgive". Just that - "she needs to forgive" nothing more. About fifteen seconds or so later, as I was sitting there going "ok Lord, is that you or me?" the word was confirmed by another member of the church. The other member posed it as a question, which the person in question shrugged off as "of course there isn't any unforgiveness", so after the service I went up to her and told her exactly what God had told me.

Ok, this alone is worth mentioning, because it marks the first time in my life I have heard clearly from God a message for someone else, and had the guts to share it. However, that is beside the point. Of interest is what followed as a result of that sharing. What followed was that the person in question took offense, and in a message sent out to the entire church body complained about people "casting blame" and insinuating on at least three different occasions that she was "at fault" for the lack of healing, since they were saying there was something (forgiving) she hadn't done that was preventing healing.

Personally, I would think that if God has tried to tell you something on three different occasions, that maybe you ought to listen, however painful what he is saying may be - but that also is beside the point. The point is: why would this message cause offense in the first place? Consider this: say you have never been to someone's house before. You may well ask how to get there, whereupon they will tell you "drive down this street, turn here, go x miles" etc. Would you respond to those directions by accusing them of casting blame? After all, they are saying there is something YOU need to do to get to the desired destination. In fact, you aren't at the desired destination *already* because you haven't done something necessary to get there (driving) - that means you are "at fault" for not being there already, right? Ridiculous! Of course there is no blame for not being there!

And that is exactly the point: the fact that there may be some steps that you need to do to get to a destination in no way implies any sort of blame for not being at the destination already. In fact, pretty much *EVERY* destination requires that you perform one or more steps to get there - whether it is a physical destination, such as a house, school, etc, a mental destination (I want to be calm and confident when I give that speech), a health destination (I want to loose ten pounds), or whatever. In general, there is no blame involved in any of these situations. Sure, some people might look at that last example (loosing weight) and assign blame - you have only yourself to blame for not working out to loose weight - but even then I think everyone would agree the *healthy* (and proper) attitude isn't "I'm at fault for not working out" but rather "Ok, let's start working out and LOOSE this weight!" Of course, an attitude of "how dare you imply that I'm at fault for not loosing this weight because I need to work out!" doesn't help anyone - least of all you to loose the weight.

The situation with healing (in this case) is *exactly* the same - there is a desired destination, healing. We, the church, asked God how to get there, and he responded with directions - "she needs to forgive". Regardless of if the directions are forgive, or go and wash the mud from your eyes (as Jesus said to the blind man in the bible), it's straight forward and clear - just a basic direction to get to the destination. If you choose to take that as "casting blame", then that's on you - and in that, you may bear some guilt. But the ONLY guilt is that which you place upon yourself. Saying that to get to healing, you need to do something - anything - does not, in any way, shape, or form, place any guilt on anyone. It is a direction, nothing more. And like any goal, until you perform the steps needed to reach that goal, the goal will not be reached.

So the next time someone suggests that God has indicated to them that there is something you need to do to achieve some goal you are asking him for, don't waste time assigning yourself blame for not already having done whatever it is. God doesn't blame you (he's not like that), and chances are the person who is sharing the message with you doesn't blame you. Put all thoughts of guilt out of your mind (which is the only place they exist), do what God has instructed, and receive the prize for which you were asking.

And stop reading into what people, especially God, say, or believing that they are "implying" something. Take what they say at face value, meaning what they said and no more. Doing otherwise only causes pain and misunderstandings. But that's a topic for another day :-)

Israel Brewster 2011-2016