Guilt is that overwhelming sense of remorse or responsibility one feels when one has done something wrong, or which they at least believe to be wrong. It carries a huge weight of emotional baggage with it, but the overwhelming sense of disappointment one feels when they think about the action which created the sense of guilt is almost too consistent to ever be out of one's mind. In time, held onto long enough, that weight can grind down even the strongest person to a place of "paralysis" - not able to move forward, but just "stuck" in that place of guilt and emotional disappointment. The issue with guilt is how hard it is for us to let go of the past. We have this "trap" of a memory which associates certain feelings with certain actions - regardless of good or bad, those memories flood in based on the circumstances presenting themselves which were similar to past ones. I came across a quote online the other day which really says it all: "When thinking about life remember this: no amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future." (Quoted from TryLife.TV)
I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. I am sprinting toward the only goal that counts: to cross the line, to win the prize, and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed. All of us who are mature ought to think the same way about these matters. If you have a different attitude, then God will reveal this to you as well. (Philippians 3:13-15 VOICE)
God wants his children to fully appreciate a "break from the past" as they walk in daily union with him. It is this union which actually provides the means by which we make the break from the past. Think of it this way - Jesus built a bridge from the past sinful pursuits and all the guilt associated with those actions. That bridge provides a way of escape - we cross over into a life without guilt because he doesn't want us to to live in the "land of guilt" any longer. As we cross over, it is like Jesus draws up the "drawbridge" he has created as a means of our safe passage out of the past and into the present, securely keeping us from ever crossing back over into the past again. That bridge remains in the upright (impassable) position as long as we don't go over to it and start cranking it back down again! When we allow our memories of the past to entice us back over that bridge into the past, we are actually taking control of the bridge. We "think our way back" into the past and that isn't the place Jesus has prepared for us - it is the place he prepared a way of escape out of.
Memory being what it is, that steal trap of sorts, it is important for us to yield control of our memories of the past to the one who should actually be in control of that bridge of escape. If we think we can control the bridge ourselves - or even leave it in the down position - the time will come when we are tempted to cross back over to the other side. If you have ever sat in a long line of traffic, uncertain as to what is creating the never-ending delay in your progress, you know how tempted you are to turn out of the traffic and find a different route for your "freedom". You want to control the speed at which you make progress forward, don't you? This isn't unique to just you! We ALL are discontent to just sit in the place where we don't seem to be making progress. The problem with this type of discontent is that we often turn around to return to places where we have already been! Guilt has a way of presenting traffic jams in our lives, leading us back to places we have no desire to travel again, but which we see as our only way of escape.
The traffic jams usually start about 1-2 miles from me actually being home. This might not seem like much to you, but think about it - we are that close to our destination when we begin to "squirm" under the pressure of feeling "boxed in" by the traffic created by life. We are tempted to think there is another way of escape other than the path we are on at present. We look to the past whenever this occurs - plotting and planning how we could possibly make our way around the present "traffic" in life. Jesus provides but one way of escape - it across the bridge! It is often down the path with the greatest traffic, but the narrowest lane! We want the super-highway type of escape, wide open spaces which somehow whiz us past all the delays which keep us from being truly free of the past. It is often in the delays between here and there that we find our "trust" is being tested. The delay is simply determining who it is we will actually place our trust in - either it will be Jesus or it will be self. The one we place our trust in is truly the determining factor of us being finally free of the past and the guilt associated with it.
The small amount of discomfort being in the "traffic" of traveling away from the past and into the present place of his presence is frustrating, but so worth it! We don't want the traffic, but trust me on this, we don't want to go back either! If we are willing to trust him to help us through the traffic of all our memories which have us muddled up in the past, he will bring us through to the freedom of his presence and peace. Just sayin!