Where Grace Abounds is a resource for pastors, counselors, and Christian leaders who want to refer people for specialized help. It is an honor to partner with them.
As one might expect, in keeping with the mission of Where Grace Abounds (WGA), it is a regular occurrence that WGA staff meet with people who are seeking understanding about their sexuality and relationships. They come with a dilemma in mind, a presenting problem, so to speak. Or a question about what Scripture has to say about their situation, or looking for resources, a book or program that might help them.
But whatever is on the top of their minds, it is often true that they are also experiencing a myriad of feelings about their situation—emotions strong enough to motivate them to seek help. As we help them think through and express what is on their hearts, sometimes awareness of their sin comes to a head, and at some point a solid core of guilt is exposed. (See below for a link to a helpful article on how guilt operates in our lives.)
After they have allowed themselves to speak of the behavior they feel guilty about, after they have confessed and asked for forgiveness, it is then that they most need to hear of the Grace and Truth of God’s love. In that sacred space, it is a singular honor to tell men and women eaten up by years of guilt and shame about God’s freely offered grace and His forgiveness.
Sometimes in an instant, sometimes gradually over time, the Truth dawns that they are forgiven completely for their sins. During this season, it will help the person to have good resources to facilitate their understanding, to support their growth in the Lord, to solidify who they are in Christ.
“Guilt Good and Bad”
At WGA, we offer a plethora of resources tailor-made to provide what a person needs: support groups, discipleship counseling, a resource library with recommended reading lists and other helpful literature, trainings for pastors and Christian leaders.
One article that I have often found effective in helping people understand how God has intended for guilt to operate in our lives is an article in Christianity Today in 2002. In his essay, “Guilt Good and Bad,” Phillip Yancey’s opening paragraph says:
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” proclaimed a sappy romance novel from the 1970s. I have come to believe the opposite, that love means precisely having to say you’re sorry. A sense of guilt, vastly underappreciated, deserves our gratitude, for only such a powerful force can nudge us toward repentance and reconciliation with those we have harmed.”
The article is well worth reading, especially if the reader is wondering what to do with troubling feelings of guilt. After making several important and instructive points, Yancey concludes his article with this:
“I once thought Christians went through life burdened by guilt, in contrast to carefree unbelievers. I now realize that Christians are the only persons who do not have to go through life feeling guilty. Guilt is only a symptom; we listen to it because it drives us toward the cure.”
The Cure, we know, is God the Father, through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. As Wayne Watson sings, He is “the friend of a wounded heart.”
“Jesus, He meets you where you are
Jesus, He heals your secret scars
All the love you’re longing for
Is Jesus, the friend of a wounded heart”
Mary is one of the founders of Where Grace Abounds and served as Executive Director from its inception on July, 1986 through March 31st, 2007. She speaks and teaches at churches and conferences across the country. Mary has also served on several boards of non-profit organizations, is a conference speaker on a variety of topics that include: Intimacy with God, Healthy Sexuality, and leadership development. She currently serves in leadership in her denomination. Mary’s favorite ministry roles are discipleship counseling, group facilitation, and leadership development.
Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motiviation. Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, indepentent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University.
Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.
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If you enjoy reading WGA’s blogs and would like to show your support, please consider making a donation. Where Grace Abounds is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The majority of services, including support groups and discipleship counseling, are provided free of charge. Your financial gifts help to cover the costs associated with offering a free program to those who seek WGA’s services.