Condemnation or Conviction?

Conviction is different than condemnation.

I can't remember exactly who said it, but recently, I heard someone say that condemnation always comes with shame while conviction always comes with hope. That distinction really struck me and ignited an ongoing conversation with the Lord about how to spot conviction versus condemnation. Here are some of the things He's taught me.

Condemnation certainly does come with shame as well as guilt, hopelessness, and discouragement. It weighs you down until your dwelling in the darkness of your failures. It's a bondage and it immobilizes you. Condemnation makes you feel like there's no way out and no improving.

Worst of all, condemnation seeks to attack your character. It tells you that you're a failure and nothing you can do could ever change that. Condemnation feeds you lies about who you are to keep you in that pit of despair.

Conviction, on the other hand is accompanied by hope and freedom. It sheds light on the sin in your life while offering a better way. When the Lord convicts you, He's calling you to repentance, which means he has a solution. Conviction gives you an action to take, something you can change, and creates almost an excitement and a joy to seek the change.

And unlike condemnation, conviction affirms your character while calling you to correct your behavior.

It’s like when you discipline a child for doing something wrong. Hopefully you don’t tell them they’re the worst person ever because of whatever they did wrong. Instead you remind them of who they are (you’re a kind, loving kid) and correct the behavior (what you did was not kind and loving. Next time try this…)

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are is Christ, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free.” - Romans 8:1-2

One of the joys of following Jesus is this promise in Romans 8:1-2. If you are in Christ, you're not under condemnation anymore! Nobody has the right to heap shame and guilt on you unless you let them.

What it does NOT say is that there is no conviction for those who are in Christ. We are all a work in progress and conviction is how God calls out our sin to make us more like Christ and accomplish His plans through us. We need conviction. But we can rejoice in it, because we now know that conviction gives us hope, light, and freedom. 

Conviction mobilizes you to take a different action, while condemnation leaves you feeling stuck in a puddle of self pity believing that you are the scum of the earth and there’s nothing to be done about it.

Be vigilant against condemnation and ask the Holy Spirit today to convict you of the sin in your life that needs to be cut out so that He can use you for His good works.

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