Yesterday I received a recorded phone call with a very serious message. I was told the IRS had a warrant for my arrest. Then I was instructed to stay on the line to talk to an agent and receive instructions of what to do.
I laughed. And hung up. I knew it was a scam. But I thought some of my facebook friends would enjoy hearing about it. Predictably it elicited some funny responses and wonderful advice.
Chris advised me to just “pay up.”
Wilson offered solace, “Bless your heart…Write when you can.”
My friend Linda said her husband, Jim, also got a call and hoped he and I could be cell mates!
“Be afraid. Be very afraid,” warned Keith.
Russ wrote, “Call me, if you need bail money.” But I noticed he gave me a fake phone number.
Debbie posted a picture of someone behind bars with this caption; “Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
Some suggested they weren’t targeting tall people. While others worried that my bed would be too short in prison.
Many reassured me it was a scam. Thanks!
But Eric offered a serious insight, “For a lot a people, there would be reason to fear getting busted by the IRS.”
Eric’s point hit home. That’s the reason I wasn’t worried and could joke about it. I file my taxes every year. And I pay what I owe. I have no reason to fear.
It reminded me of a passage in Proverbs 28:1. “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Guilty people worry. They fear getting caught. They’re constantly looking over their shoulder. They cover the steps. They wonder if someone knows. A scam phone call is taken seriously. There’s a nagging ache that affects their conscience.
However, those who live righteously can enjoy peace. With themselves. With others. And with God. That’s the most important aspect of living a guilt free life. Being right with the Lord.
Of course, we all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). And have suffered the shame of guilt. But we don’t have to live that way.
Paul penned, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Rom 8:1). Christ removes guilt because His blood redeems us from sin (Eph 1:7). We don’t have to fear. We don’t have to hide. We don’t have to carry around the baggage of sin, and the burden of guilt.
Make no mistake, guilt is a heavy load to carry. Robert Jeffress was right when he wrote, “Guilt is one of the most debilitating of human emotions. It wreaks destruction in our relationships and our spiritual lives. It is also a major cause of depression.”
Guilt accuses. Guilt condemns. Guilt is mentally draining. Physically demanding. And spiritually disastrous.
However, it depends on how we deal with guilt. When Christ was crucified, two men faced the issue of guilt.
Both Peter and Judas were chosen by Jesus to be apostles. Both men held respected positions. Judas was the Treasurer. Peter was the unofficial spokesman and a part of Jesus’ inner circle. Both had the opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet. They heard His stirring sermons. Witnessed His healing touch. And saw His powerful miracles.
Both Peter and Judas were imperfect men who committed sins. Judas placed a kiss of betrayal on Jesus’ cheek for 30 pieces of silver. And Peter denied knowing Jesus. Three times! And both men regretted their shameful actions.
However, they dealt with their guilt differently. Judas was filled with remorse, admitted his sin, yet took his own life. Peter, on the other hand, repented, rejoined the apostles and returned to Jesus. Judas is remembered as a thief and a coward. Peter is remembered as a powerful proclaimer of the Word.
How do you grapple with guilt?
Don’t quit. Don’t give in. And don’t give up.
Daily deal with the sins and imperfections in your life. Live righteously. Godly. And honestly. So, when the phone rings, you won’t worry who’s calling.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman