By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
BEFORE being born-again Tasha* lived a condemned life. She had to cope with feelings of unworthiness, guilt, hopelessness and thoughts of not measuring up on a daily basis.
She desired to live the way God wanted her to, but every time she came to brink of making the decision to accept Jesus as her Lord and personal saviour, she was reminded of the time she “cussed an elderly woman” or the time she “took money out the offering pan”.
“Those thoughts hammered me and I was convinced I had no right to lift up my hands, pray, sing praises, or just simply say thanks to God for what he has done. I was also convinced that Jesus could not be in fellowship with me because I was so sinful,” she said.
Tasha said she lived condemned for years until she had a personal revelation of Romans 8:1, which states: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”.
“I heard that scripture in a sermon and I immediately felt peace come over me. I wondered why I allowed myself to go through what I went through after all that while. That was a word of hope, because most of the times I felt fearful, depressed and sad. In my mind I figured my future could not possibly be bright because of all the wrong things I did,” she said.
Tasha is just one of many people who live with condemnation, not fully recognising its source or its purpose. Condemnation is a tool used by Satan to tear down a person by echoing their past sins or wrongdoings.
“Condemnation is a sentence, it is conviction, it is disapproval and blame,” Pastor Matthew Allen told Tribune Religion. “The feeling of guilt is always associated with condemnation. It has a unique way of making a believer see him or herself as unworthy of being a recipient of God’s love, his grace and mercy.”
“Unbeknownst to some, condemnation is the tool Satan has successfully used against believers. With it he has persuaded some into believing their acceptance was based on their works of righteousness, instead of the blood Jesus shared, which sufficiently cleanses all of their sins.
“Condemnation is one of the enemy’s subtle tools he uses against the believers in his attempt to have them abort their God ordained assignment. Whenever a believer misses the mark (falls short in any area of his or her life as a result of a sinful act), the enemy consistently works the spirit of self condemnation at them and tells them of how God cannot use them because of the act they committed,” Pastor Allen said.
“You have to recognise it because it creeps up on you,” said Simone, a Christian believer.
“I remember after being born again, there were times I missed the mark. Whenever I went to pray a thought came to me that I did not deserve to stand in the presence of God because I am loser, a liar and thief. I wept. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and reassured me that I was accepted, and that God was not holding my sins against me and therefore I did not need to hold it against myself.”
Pastor Allen said although feelings of guilt may form an evil attack, Christians should not believe the lies Satan tells. He said the truth of the matter is that God wants his people free from condemnation.
“Believers are freed from condemnation as soon as they get a revelation and working understand of 1 John 1:9, which states: ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’,” he said.