I wrote this post six months ago when I first read this book. I wanted to repost this because I found it meaningful again.
First do you remember from the Gospel about Peter three times denying that he knew Jesus? As soon as the third denial happened, a rooster crowed. Mark wondered if, in the future, hearing a rooster crowing caused Peter to have a twinge of guilt. Kind of one of those Ivan Pavlov conditioned reflex things. Is there something in your life that triggers a regret or guilty feelings? A song, a smell, a place? Whether or not you have one of these guilt inducers, you may enjoy these words about grace and guilt.
From Wild Goose Chase ... the chapter on the cage of guilt.
"Let's be honest, the church can be the most pretentious place on earth. We are afraid of revealing our imperfections and dysfunctions. We're afraid of revealing our painful scars and sinful secrets. And that is why so many people are so lonely. I've met people who feel like they have to get their act together before coming to God. Where did that ludicrous logic come from? That's like suggesting you have to get healthy before going to see a doctor. It makes no sense. The church needs to be a safe place where we can reveal our worst sins. Anything less is hypocrisy." (pg. 112-113)
This also reminded me of some cultures and families where it is too shameful to discuss things so people keep their dark secrets hidden. I think this makes people believe they are freaks because surely no one else has ever gone through this awful situation before! Crazy! It's as if all people are naturally holy and righteous all the time and sinful actions never happen. What a burden to put on individuals and families!
"Guilt has a shrinking effect. It shrinks our dreams. It shrinks our relationships. It shrinks our hearts. It shrinks our lives to the size of our greatest failures.
Grace has the opposite effect. It expands our dreams. It expands our relationships. It expands our hearts. And it gives us the courage to chase the Wild Goose all the way to the ends of the earth." (pg. 114)
Think about Peter denying our Lord three times prior to Jesus' crucifixion. Then remember how the resurrected Jesus commissioned Peter to feed His sheep. And remember in the book of Acts how Peter was used greatly by the Lord. Grace is freeing.
Sin - Grace = Guilt
Sin + Grace = Gratitude
We can be thankful because our sin met His grace and God's grace is bigger! Now you see why we praise and thank our God, right?