We all battle it. It's bound to slap us in the face at one point or another - and maybe even repeatedly.
It is the impending guilt that comes from whatever we've done, whatever our struggles, whatever sin, whatever decisions; you know, the things you wish you could take back, change, do-over, fix, and completely erase from your past.
But you can't. And it's not just the memory that haunts you, it's the recurring guilt that plagues you. I've encountered conversations 3 different times this week with individuals struggling with the same thing, different circumstances, choices, and situations, but all overshadowed by the dark cloud of guilt and shame that seems to follow whatever story their past contains. At least I'm not alone.
There's a difference between conviction and guilt. Conviction brings confession, cleansing, forgiveness, and renewal. It doesn't mean it's forgotten or undone, but it is forgiven. In God's grace, it may bring growth, and hopefully somehow be used for His glory. It comes with thankfulness and gratefulness, an awareness of who we are a part from Christ and the sacrifice He's made so we can have restoration.
On the contrary, guilt comes with blame, shame, and an overwhelming feeling that leaves you paralyzed. Sometimes it brings more bad decisions. A perpetual pit that leaves you powerless to change and in a constant state of defeat.
It is a lie straight from the Enemy himself.
The next time the devil tempts you to think that you are not worthy to approach God, here is what I advise: Agree. Say, "You are right. I am not worthy to approach God. I never was worthy to approach God. I never will be worthy to approach God. My access to God's presence is not based on my worthiness, it is based on what Christ did for me on the cross." - Greg Laurie
In order to understand redemption, you must draw on the power He has promised is yours - the same power He used to raise Christ from the dead. And in order to experience forgiveness, you must remember why He died to begin with: You. Me. The salvation of our souls.
If you try to obtain "worthiness," you'll always fall short. The impending guilt will surely attack you, too. Because no matter what good is in you, it will never be good enough. He is perfection. He is the epitome of worthy. Our fallen flesh cannot attain it, no matter how hard we strive for it. So claim His gift and let the power of His forgiveness wash over you. And the moment guilt comes to call on your conscience, claim the victory you've already received as His redeemed.