I have always been a very independent person growing up, and had to rely on my own choices and decisions. So I often push back feelings of shame or guilt when I have sinned or made a poor decision which may directly hurt another individual or myself because I try and justify in my heart that what I have said or done was right. Whenever I reach this crossroad in life and open my heart to wait to hear God's voice, I understand which direction to take and I can move forward with feelings of confidence, contentment, and gratitude. It motivates my response to a situation in a more positive and graceful manner. But when I take matters into my own hands, or rush through a decision without praying and grasping God's wisdom first, the outcome is one that does not give me peace, and I know that I am not being trustworthy.
As Charles Swindoll wrote, "You can stop hiding, stand before Him, acknowledge your sin, admit you are helpless to please Him on your own, and receive His free gift of grace. His gift is free, extended by grace and received through faith. So, the choice is yours. Guilt or grace?"
My willingness to stop and choose God's way instead of my own, provides me with a heart and nature of character pleasing to Him, and my feeling of self is gratified. And although I know I will continue to make wrong decisions (and when I do), I want to be guided by God's grace rather than guilt so that I can move forward in a positive reconciliation of the matter. I can choose to walk away from God's direction, and struggle all my life, or let Him nurture me into the very person I am intended to be.
"What we need is a relational atmosphere of grace and truth, where we are not condemned even in failure. This kind of relationship continually inspires us to deepen our moment-by-moment dependence on God, rather than causing us to fix it for ourselves. It's only through our connection with God that we receive the power to genuinely change." "We all developed the habit of living mostly on our own, disconnected from God in a fallen world. We respond to this inherited tendency of humanity to go our own way instead of God's way." (Burke)
I am growing and maturing to persevere and seek God's wisdom and understanding, and to bear my responsibility for an offense or wrongdoing, so that I may be remorseful and aware of my having done something shameful. I will choose grace over guilt to guide and shape my character.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God. " (Romans 5:1-2)