People transitioning from the framework of Mormonism often feel confused about what is and isn’t sin. They may have felt condemned by Mormon demands and by other Mormons. To make progress, it helps to know the difference between condemnation and conviction.
[Related: Justification by Faith]
[Related: Blame Game vs. Propitiation]
- Condemnation. Condemnation will come as an undermining or degrading thought leading to guilt, shame, and hopelessness. It attacks our identity: “You are worthless. You will never be good enough.” Condemnation is paralyzing. It does not lead to constructive change. It may come from family, from a religious system, or from the devil – known in the Bible as “the accuser”.
- Conviction. Conviction comes from God. It is like a gentle nudge about some specific behavior that is wrong, and usually includes an idea of how to make it right. Conviction from God leads to positive transformation. It brings hope and helps us make things right.
- Confession. The right response to God’s conviction is to confess the sins he reveals. The LDS Church requires people to confess to a bishop to prove one’s repentance. But the Bible invites us to confess directly to our loving God.
- Psalm 32:5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
- What an encouragement to know that God freely forgives and cleanses us!
- 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
- God’s conviction comes to us in the context of his mercy and compassion.
Condemnation leads to depression. Conviction is a loving act of God to stimulate positive change in our lives. When we understand God’s love for us we can embrace his conviction. It’s for our best. Conviction from God generates hope!
[Related: What Do I Do with Feelings of Guilt?]
[Related: Guilt & Repentance]