Don't "fall" for it!
Wasting psycho-spiritual energy on guilt and on judgment of ourselves and others is a trick; don’t fall for it!
It’s a trick of the great opponent to distract us from what we really need to be doing when he gets us to focus on sin, whether it's our own or others, but not forgiveness, freely given and offered to all by the Son of God. Even when I’m not focusing on the wrongs of others, I can slip into focusing on my own guilt and even my own repentance and remorse for that sin, and forget about the redemption already accomplished and the path to sanctification waiting for me and everyone else to accept and walk.
The 12-step programs work as well as they do because when an honestly repentant but still seriously self-centered seeker can get out of self long enough to really listen to the experiences of people who’ve walked they same paths they’re on, they find that they are not uniquely degraded or degenerate, and they can begin to believe that the solutions that helped others may also work for them.
There’s a kind of “arrested development” aspect of this obsession with our own and others wrongs (and “rights”); the obsession with our own defects and feelings is juvenile, and the legalistic focus on “the rules” and judging others’ compliance with them is the kind of thing ambitious young people use to justify their own behaviors and rationalize their self-centered acquisitiveness.
Scripture says we all – ALL – have sinned and “fallen short”. It also offers all of us – ALL OF US (that includes the most disgusting, mean, nasty, and “scary” person you can think of) -- forgiveness, redemption, a practical pathway to better living in this world, eternal life, and the key to getting moment to moment help and guidance to stay on the path. Really. Hard to believe? Yep, it is, because it’s a better deal than you’ve ever seen in this world, and it breaks a lot of the “rules” you’ve got stuck in your head.
Peter was actually WALKING ON WATER when he “fell for the trick”: He took his eyes off His Lord, and started looking around at all the distractions and started doubting what he was actually experiencing, and, sure ‘nough, he sank. But, he also shows us the right answer: He cried out to the Lord for help, and the Incarnate God reached down His hand and pulled Him up.
Don’t get distracted, and don’t be tricked into doubting what is being demonstrated and testified to you, right now. But, even if you do, and find yourself sinking into guilt and judgment and condemnation, turn you attention to the Lord; See! He’s holding out his hand… He will lift you up, if you’ll let Him.