Have you taken any good trips lately? Have you been to the mountains, the ocean, the desert?

Trips can be very good things. Trips to new places can improve our knowledge. Trips to old, familiar places can stir good memories and makes us feel young again. Trips to beautiful places can inspire us and remind us of God’s majesty.

However, there are trips we can take that are very unhealthy and can bring us down, and many of us take them far to often. I am talking about guilt trips.

Webster’s defines guilt as, “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some real or imagined offense, crime, wrong, etc.”

Most of us have things in our lives that we feel guilty for, and some feel guilty about things we never even did or had any control over. When we recall old guilt and dwell on it, we are embarking on a guilt trip. Bad business.

George Carlin [an unusual man to quote in a Christian column I suppose], in his “Views on Aging” suggests, “Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to he next county; to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.”

That really is good advice for most of us. Of course the emotion of guilt certainly has a purpose. If we have done something obviously wrong we should feel guilty about it. Then we should ask for forgiveness, do all we can to correct the mistake (if possible,) turn it over to the Lord and then move on.

Retuning to the emotion over and over again (taking guilt trips) is counter-productive and unhealthy. Admit it, deal with it, receive God’s forgiveness and let it go. When we continue to dwell on guilt, we can feel hopeless, worthless and despondent; and our ability to serve the Lord is weakened.

The enemy is an accomplished tour guide when it comes to taking us on guilt trips. He will make all the arrangements: he will point out the destination, remind us of the reason we are going, have all the activities arranged when we get there, and try to make the trip last as long as possible. If Satan had his way, we would stay there forever, for he knows that when are on our guilt trip, he can keep us separated from the Lord — the main thing he wants to accomplish. Anytime we are experiencing a prolonged guilt trip, we can bet Satan is along for the ride.

We must pray for strength and guidance from the Holy Spirit to stop taking them.

How do we discontinue our guilt trips? Paul said, “…and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience…” (Hebrews 10:21-22). It is a matter of accepting forgiveness. If we have any sin or trespass that we have not repented for and asked for forgiveness, that is the first and most important thing we must do. Once that is sincerely accomplished, we must stop returning to it. There is nothing good at the end of a guilt trip, only recurring pain and heartache. Instead, let the Lord Jesus take you on righteous trips to spend time with Him. Let us replace our guilt trips with God trips. God trips replenish our souls. May we take them often. Amen.

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