Convicted by God?

I hear Christians say it all the time: “God convicted me.” And I know what is meant by that. But is it really in God’s nature to convict us? Is that really the picture of God that we want to paint? Would the onlooking world find that picture to be beautiful and compelling?

By definition, the word convict means “to prove or declare guilty of an offense, especially after a legal trial.” A second definition would be “to impress with a sense of guilt.”

Does that sound like a God you would choose to worship — one who makes sure you know that you screwed up? One who proves you guilty in a legal trial rather than declaring you to be justified because of the faithfulness of Jesus — God Incarnate? Surely God is not our accuser and our advocate all at once!

There is one the Scriptures describe as the accuser of God’s people — the prosecuting attorney, if you will — and we know him by the Hebrew-word-turned-proper-noun, Satan.

I am fully convinced that God takes no pleasure in pointing out our mistakes. But God — who is love — cannot remain silent when we seek pleasure in that which can only cause us pain. Love, in seeking the best for others, must take a stand against that which would cause them harm.

While love will correct when needed, it will never convict. In the same way, when the light of God shines on the dark places of our heart, the darkness is not compounded through feelings of conviction and shame. Rather than rubbing our faces in it, God lifts our heads and takes us by the hand, leading us to a better place.

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