Conviction or Condemnation?

“It is all your fault!” Ever hear that in your head? Or maybe your message runs more like this: “You’re such an idiot!” “You can never do anything right!” “You’ll never be able to get victory over that temptation!” “You’re a total failure!” “You’ve ruined your children’s lives!”

Sound familiar?

Do you ever get confused by the voices in your head?

If you’re being pounded by condemnation, trust me . . . that is NOT God’s voice. He doesn’t dish out condemnation. Conviction—yes, condemnation—never.

[box]“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)[/box]

What’s the difference?

Conviction draws my focus from my sin to God’s holiness.

It is a gracious, usually very uncomfortable, realization that I’ve sinned against a holy God. But coupled with that conviction, as I respond in repentance, comes grace. And with that amazing grace, hope pours in. Hope fills my head and heart with confidence that God is able to do a new thing. God is able to fill me, change me, renew me, and use me for His glory.

Condemnation is quite different than conviction. 

Condemnation keeps my focus on my failures rather than God’s power.

Condemnation fills me with regret for the past and fear for the future. Condemnation convinces me that I’m beyond repair, too much trouble for God, hopeless and worthless. Condemnation robs me of hope and fills me with despair. Condemnation robs me of any desire or thought of being used for God’s glory.

Am I guilty of dishing out condemnation? 

Knowing how the enemy uses condemnation (it’s a hallmark play of his), I need to be careful that I’m not dishing it out to others. It’s easy to throw out words of condemnation, or sometimes I don’t even have to open my mouth—the look on my face or long extended sigh can convey the same condemning death blow to my friend.

Who am I to slam others with condemnation?

How do I think I can be in the position to “condemn” anyone?

I have my share of regrets, so do I think I’m superior to anyone? To God? He doesn’t hand out condemnation to His children, so when I start down that road—what am I thinking?

If I’m sounding like I’m handing out condemnation, will you please send this passage to me? 

[box]He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:32–34)[/box]

If you’re struggling under condemnation, please read this:

[box]Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Just as it is written,

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39)[/box]