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Prepare for the worst

Guilt is banished through love and truth; Fear-of-God deflects evil. (Proverbs 16:6)

Guilt is a tough opponent, isn't it? That guilt we all carry around in our lives is like a 'cling-on' - kind of undetected but wearing away at us as time goes by - it resists separation at all cost. I have some sweaters that have those balled up pieces of lint that gathers everywhere and make them look a little less than stellar. They are comfortable, but they don't look very nice anymore. Those 'cling-on' bits and pieces refuse to separate themselves from those sweaters - even when I pluck them away, it just leaves a place for another bit or piece of lint to gather. Guilt is kind of like that - we get rid of some of it, but it leaves 'raw places' in our lives that seem to get 'filled' again with memories of the 'bits and pieces' that were shed from that spot.

When mom was alive, she used to buy things from one of those places that sent the catalogs all the time. She bought a 'lint shaver' once that was battery operated. It promised to remove all the 'cling-on' lint from your clothing. I used it a couple of times, but honestly it didn't do all that good of a job. It made things look good for about one or two wears, but then I was right back at it again. The issue wasn't the lint remover, it was the fact the garments were just going to make those 'cling-on' lint gatherings! It is kind of like that with us - we get free of our sin and guilt, only to embrace a little bit of sin later on, allowing the guilt to gather up and 'cling-on'. As long as we are on this earth there will be temptation and we don't always do our best to avoid it.

I have mentioned on more than one occasion the importance of 'preparing for' our eventual tangle with temptation. It is that preparatory work that keeps us from getting pulled into the tangle of sin in the first place. Emotions will ride high when all is well in our lives, but when we give into temptation the emotional upheaval makes all the highs a distant memory. We succumb to the guilt load - the cling-on that just keeps on giving. Knowing where our emotional weak spots exist doesn't mean we are helpless or hopeless - it means we can prepare for them and be ready when they come. Guilt is banished (eliminated, eradicated, driven away) where love and truth are free to work.

This means we need to make truth part of our preparatory work. Truth is found in God's Word. Get into it and allow it to get into you. Know what scripture says about your weak areas - how they are overcome. Then when they come, use truth to dispel the desire to give into those thoughts, emotions, or cravings that come. It took me a long time to know I could tell my emotions how to respond - I didn't need to give into them all the time. Instead of riding an emotional roller-coaster all the time, I asked God to show me how to get ahead of those troubling emotions. It took a bit of effort, but when we ask God to lovingly show us how to 'prepare for the worst', he doesn't ignore such a request. Just sayin!

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