Pastor Toby's Blog
Pastor Toby's Blog
Having Two Legs: The Dignity of Guilt

The Dignity of Guilt

One of the most loving and dignifying things God does for human beings is insist that they take responsibility for their sin. This is one of the fundamental meanings of the words of Christ: If anyone tries to save his life, he will lose it, but if he loses it for my sake, he will find it.

We live in a world that makes excuses for everything, blames other people, circumstances, and wants to constantly play the victim, but the deep irony is that all excuse making is dehumanizing. Every time you blame someone else you sell your soul, you become less human. In our effort to save our life, our dignity, our value we actually cheapen the impact of our own choices, decisions, thoughts, words, and reactions. The end result of blaming others is that your actions don’t matter, you don’t matter. How could you matter? By that standard, nothing you do does anything. You were angry because of the kids. You lied because of that other person. You’re depressed because of your dad. You snapped because you didn’t get enough sleep or you missed breakfast. But what you’re doing with every one of those excuses is selling your dignity as a human being, and fundamentally you are defying the God who made you in His image.

You do not have the right to be offended. You do not have the right to sin. And so, one of the kindest, most loving things God comes to do is to dignify every human being with the sentence of guilty. No, you are not nothing. You are not worthless. You are not a mere victim of circumstances. No, you are a man; you are woman made with intelligence and the power of choice, and you have sinned. You have loved evil and hated good. You have hurt yourself and you have hurt others. And yes, you have been hurt and wronged, but you always had the responsibility to choose to respond with patience, kindness, and love. We are guilty. We deserve death. We are sinful and unclean. And the moment we tell the truth and take responsibility for our sins, Christ offers to take our sins away and promises to raise us up with the dignifying power of His grace.