You would not believe how often I am motivated by guilt.
- I should take a meal to that family.
- I should go visit that sick person.
- I should invite those people over.
- I should help in the nursery.
- I should give money to that ministry.
Are any of those things wrong? Absolutely not! But to do anything out of guilt is the wrong motivation. The sad thing is...I didn't even realize I was being motivated by guilt. Thoughts go through our minds every.single.day that are not our own thoughts. Satan speaks to us in first person singular ("I should") so that we think those thoughts are our own. He knows if he said, "You should" we'd be tipped off that he was telling us those things. So that tricky devil tries to make us think what he's saying to us originates in our own minds. That I was aware of! So it's even more puzzling that I didn't realize the enemy was trying to motivate me out of guilt. But I guess it had been going on so long that I wasn't even aware.
Guilt is a poor motivator. Who wants someone doing something for you when they're doing it out of guilt? Do you want your children coming to visit you because they feel guilty? Do you want a gift given to you out of guilt? Will you do some things you don't particularly want to do--even without guilt? Sure!! But the difference is you can do it because you LOVE that person, that church, that ministry.
How do you stop the guilt? When a thought comes into your mind of "I should"....STOP! Stop and examine that thought. Why do you think you should? Is it because you're feeling guilty? Then don't do anything until you ask God if you should do that thing. And then don't do it until you can do it out of love. Sometimes that will come quickly and other times it may take a bit. But the more you practice this, the freer you will become until one day you'll realize you're motivated purely by love.
I know the way...now I need to practice it.
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
Romans 12:2 NLT