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Guilt – Mankind’s Dual Nature is to Sin and Then Feel Bad About It
We all struggle with guilt and sin. Not just some of us, all of us. It is our nature.
The Bible talks about our sinful nature, but what does it mean?
Basically, we were born with a preference for sin because our predecessors, Adam and Eve, sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. They didn’t want to do more than we wanted to sin. And, so did we.
If you carefully read and reread Romans chapter 7 in the Bible, it explains this phenomenon. But, it also makes most people say, “what?” why is it so hard to explain or understand. So I want to try to say more clearly why it is important that we understand why we fight like there is no tomorrow. And, we all know there is.
Sin by the Bible’s definition is doing something that leads to death. We all know that eventually we will all die, but you can die while still alive if your spirit is broken or destroyed by depression, pain, illness, hardship, abuse, isolation or death of loved ones . Humans are not immortal and no matter how good you are, you will eventually die physically. Mother Teresa is dead. Pope John Paul II has died. We all die.
We are considered “alive” only when we are totally and completely without sin. Nuns, priests, ministers, pastors and other highly religious people are no longer alive than you. Why?
Because you cannot be “alive” as long as the body you own today is still physically alive. The body contains the sinful nature whether you are a Christian or not. The mind or spirit is a different matter. We all start out with a sinful mind. Our thoughts make us do things that we want to resist, but for some reason we can’t.
Once you become a Christian, you are given a spiritual help (Holy Spirit) that now resides in your mind, but also that stupid sinful nature. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go away when you become a Christian. This is when the dual nature part comes into play.
Once saved, we don’t want to think bad thoughts about the driver in front of us who can’t go faster than a snail, but we do. We know those thoughts are sinful, but now we feel a pang of guilt. We are supposed to love everyone regardless of their actions, but some people do it really hard. We know what’s right, think the bad thought, feel the guilt, wish we could stop feeling the guilt and promise to do better next time. Then another driver gets out going even slower than the last one. Arrrrg, your sinful mind screams. Ah-hem, the spiritual mind remembers. And we go through the right, the wrong, the guilt, the remorse and the promise of better next time.
Does it ever end?
No, I’m afraid it isn’t. But it is easier to listen to the Holy Spirit instead of the Enemy (the devil). And, like a muscle, the more you use your spiritual mind and ignore the sinful mind, the stronger the spirit grows until it can easily overshadow the sinful nature.
Jesus promises that our suffering on earth will end after death and that we will join him in heaven for eternity. Once the sinful body is gone, the sinful mind goes with it. Only the spiritual mind remains and can transcend the physical realm. We are only finally free of our sinful nature after our physical body dies.
You may be contemplating taking your own life to end your suffering, thinking that you just gave yourself the perfect solution. Think again.
The Holy Spirit will never lead you to take your life. Never. So if your sinful mind is strong enough to convince you to commit suicide, you will not transcend the suffering in the afterlife, you will suffer even more and this time for eternity. Do the math: 80 years of suffering now versus an eternity of suffering later. Even if every day of your life sucks and is horrible, it is but a small space of time compared to eternity! In Save yourself! The Plain Truth, I explain how you can touch the Holy Spirit by accepting salvation. Salvation makes suffering here on earth much more bearable and guarantees an eternity full of good things (love, joy, peace, etc.), and not evil.
Sin becomes sin only once you know what sin is. Sin is not sin if you know nothing about it or are unable to understand it. That is why animals cannot be sinners even when they kill, which we all know is one of the biggest sins you can commit. Animals do not have the ability (or vocabulary) to understand sin is the voluntary disobedience of God’s commandments. Mental problems, very young children and indigenous people with no contact with the outside world are also exempt from the sinful nature.
Does that mean you don’t believe in God, don’t you have a sinful nature?
No. It is the lack of knowledge about right and wrong (God’s commandments) that exempts you from that sinful nature. God has uniquely equipped humans who live in isolation to believe in a higher spirit without “knowing” of sin. Anthropologists studying isolated cultures have found that they have a natural reverence for nature, food sources, water, and others. They only kill for food or when they are threatened, like animals. Most of these cultures lack the sins that modern cultures have, such as the desire for material things – natural sharing to preserve the whole community – or lies – they live so close to others that they have nothing to hide . They are “innocent” of sins.
The consciousness of sin brings shame. That is why Adam and Eve hid and covered their nakedness from God after they sinned. Before sin they had no reason to be ashamed. Unfortunately, the consciousness of sin made Adam and Eve, and most of us, more likely to engage in sinful behavior. We seem to be wired to be willing and to disobey when someone tells us to no to do something. The Bible also says that we have to struggle with this.
We are full of shame when we do bad things even when we don’t want to. It is sin that acts, not us. But we have the choice to listen to the Holy Spirit rather than our sinful nature. No one said it was easy, but the rewards are greater.
The Bible says that a sinful mind brings constant thoughts of death, while a spirit-filled mind brings abundant life and eternal peace.
Know that you are using your sinful mind, rather than your spirit-filled mind, when you consider something that leads to death—yours or someone else’s:
- Take your own life to stop your suffering
- Also get or set a score by hurting someone else
- Deliberately driving in a manner that endangers others
- Physically harming yourself or someone to get you to do what you want
- Physically harm yourself or someone else to teach them a lesson
- Using children, the elderly, women or any other “weaker” person for inappropriate sexual purposes
- Taking or using alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs in a way that impairs you physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually
- Abuse of any substance that could lead to your decreased health or well-being – tobacco, alcohol, diuretics, stimulants, depressants, or fatty, sugary, preservative-laden foods in excess.
- Participating in “jackass” type behavior – dangerous stunts or risky activities such as skateboarding behind moving vehicles, jumping from roofs, etc.
- Ignoring life-threatening illnesses and diseases or refusing to seek medical attention for yourself or others
- Harm, torture or kill animals for entertainment or for any other reason except as a source of food
- Any other activity, behavior or action that endangers yourself, others or nature (animals, environment)
- Any obsessive thoughts that lead you to consider any of the above
It is hard to understand how you can be “alive” while you are “dead” in sin. The only way to feel “alive” is to ask for salvation through Jesus Christ. Salvation begins with a simple prayer (explained in my book, Save yourself! The Plain Truth) and end up with a new life where you feel more alive and at peace than you ever thought possible. This is what it really means to be born again. You have to start fresh.
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