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Hope & Encouragement for Women

Why I have had a Hard Time with False Guilt

I have always wanted to please others and do whatever was necessary to avoid conflict. My family has been quit unhealthy since as far back as I can remember. I knew from an early age that I wanted better for my life and the constant barrage of conflicts and confusion that stemmed from addictions in my family and various mental illnesses. I was desperate to be different, but I did not know how to be. I was always searching for the next thing to make me better, but nothing seemed to last. Sure, I tried to manage and cope with life through various addictions as my family had, but I got sick and tired of that lifestyle. I was not taught about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but God sent a minister into my path to show me God’s love. I rejected the “message” at first, but I was desperate because I had been to “hell and back.” I eventually turned my heart to God and ask Jesus to be my Savior. Fast forward, 17 years later and I am out of that deep, dark pit that I was in, but my family has chosen to stay there. I want them out, because I know the life that God given me, and I want them to have what I have.

I had developed false guilt because I tried and tried to step-in and help my family, only to come away feeling like I never do enough. It seemed no matter what I would do for them, they needed more and more. I felt a false duty to do whatever I needed to “get them to Christ,” but as a result I began having an overactive conscience and never could rest. I was always trying to figure out how I could help them. I began doing things for my family out of guilt and family obligation, because that’s “what family’s do.”

If you have endured false guilt, then you know that it causes you to be worn-out. Always trying to please others and get their approval, because you want to make others happy. The mission for someone who suffers from false guilt is proving their worthiness to others-you will love me if I do __________. You never know if you measure to the standards of others, so you live with a lot of uncertainty. Thus, you try harder to win their approval, but you don’t and the cycle continues.

The bottom line is that I feared losing those relationships that caused me to act out of guilt, because then I would know that I was unworthy, unacceptable and rejected. Not only do I not want someone to be mad at me, but I am a natural-born “rescuer.” This combination can be a breeding ground for developing a false sense of guilt. If I hear or see a need, then I automatically assume that it is there for me to pick up, and if I don’t I can hear very negative messages about myself. What I am learning through all of this, is that when God wants you to intervene you will not struggle with heavy guilt, and you won’t have to figure-out how to solve the problem. There will be an inner “knowing” or nudging inside when you are supposed to help. When the enemy is involved he sends waves of pressure like, “You should be helping.” You will also hear condemning messages such as,” What kind of daughter are you not to intervene, its family and that is what you do.”

Condemnation always comes from the enemy. If the Lord is not in something and you pick it up anyways, there will be no active solution. For instance, you were asked to help in a situation with a family member but you did not have God’s peace but because it is family you tried to step-in only to be met with frustration after frustration concerning their problem. Yes, we are supposed to help and encourage others, but when we REPEATEDLY offer our energy and resources to ones who are not getting it in hopes that “this time will help,” we can carry heavy loads of false guilt on our shoulders. It is amazing how certain people know what to say to get you to do what they want, but if you rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit instead of emotions you will know what you are supposed to do. Take time and step away and pray first, the enemy is in the business of making you rush and feel hurried to give an answer immediately, others can make you feel it is an emergency when in fact it is not. Feeling hurried, pressured and confused are great indicators that God does not want you involved. If you have to conjure up the solution yourself to someone else’s problem after racking your brain for days, chances are God is not in it. God gives the solution, He does not leave you empty-handed grasping for solutions-He is the solution! 

God always makes a way, and if we are trying to solve problems for our families or other relationships we can end up anxious, fearful, depressed, sick, and exhausted. Why? Because God maybe trying to get that person to turn to Him, instead of you to fix their problems. When God has something for you to do, there is no guilt, heaviness, or burdens attached to it. You just know deep down inside what you need to do, but when the enemy sets you up to get entangled in others problems that God did not call you to-be careful because you can easily be deceived and enmeshed.

There is freedom from false guilt, and it starts with acknowledging the “roots” of why we do what we do? Lack of trust towards God, people approval, fear of rejection. Then acknowledging what is sin and confessing it to the Lord and asking Jesus to deliver us from false guilt.


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