The Biblical (But Counterintuitive) Way to Deal with Guilt over Wasting Time

Biblical way to deal with guilt over wasting time

It’s the end of December – a busy and fun time around the holidays. But it’s often depressing as well.

We only have a few days left to make good on all the goals and resolutions that we set for ourselves in 2013. For many of us, we’re far off the mark.

Another year has gone by – and what do we have to show for it?

When the calendar flips over to 2014, there’s a sense of hope for a great year ahead. But perhaps there’s also a sense of guilt at all the opportunities we’ve missed. All the time we’ve wasted. All the procrastination, the sleeping in, the unproductive running around with urgent but unimportant tasks.

It’s challenging to move on from all of this, because we have lingering senses of guilt. The consequences of wasted time are very real. Family neglect can damage relationships. Exercise neglect can harm your health. Work neglect can damage finances.

For me, it’s almost painful at times to think about how different my life would be if I could have better invested all of that wasted time throughout the years.

But the best solace is to view these missed opportunities through a biblical frame. Ironically, healing comes when we realize how horridly sinful our time wasting really is.

The Weight of Our Time Management Sins

I know, it seems odd – but track with me. The first step we must take is to see wasting time for what it is: a sin. A sin worthy of death.

Every second we are serving something. It could be an idol of work and materialism, or an idol of leisure and comfort, or an idol of self-sufficiency. Misusing our time happens when our hearts are chasing after an idol instead of after the true God.

(This is a startling revelation, so you may need to take some time to just sit on that for a while.)

This, of course, does anything but offer us the peace that I promised at the beginning of the post. In fact, it’s terrifying.

Our procrastination is no longer just a harmless and humorous tendency. It’s not even something that merely damages our career.

Now, wasting our time becomes a sin worthy of death. It’s a sin that declares war on God, aligning ourselves as his foe. It’s a sin that makes us worthy of wrath, death, and hell.

Feeling the Weight

At this point, we have to resist the temptation to avoid this feeling of guilt.

Don’t try to lower God’s standard of perfection. Don’t try to rationalize your sin by claiming everyone does it.

Don’t try to minimize God’s wrath. Don’t see him as a kind grandfather that spoils you.

This is crucial: You have to get to the point where you see your sin the way God sees it. As horrible. As serious. As worthy of punishment.

You have to get to the point where you see this punishment the way God sees it. As eternal. As dreadful.

A damaged career due to procrastination is nothing compared to eternity in hell. A few extra inches on your waistline, a few books left unread, even a relationship that’s strained – it all is worthless and unimportant when compared to an eternity of wrath.

The Weight Opens the Door for the Gospel

Now the Good News steps in. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we have forgiveness. That horrible feeling we had when we realized the extent of our sin now gives way to pleasant peace.

And whereas before we saw the consequences of our sin as far outweighing any earthly consequences, now we can retain that frame.

Yes, it’s unfortunate that our career was impacted by procrastination, but that doesn’t really matter to us that much. We were on the hook for an eternity in hell, and we’re now forgiven!

Yes, perhaps there are a lot of goals that slipped between the cracks. We feel some very real guilt and pain. But we’re forgiven and can avoid the pain of hell!

How do we react now?

Repent, yes. But then get up and keep going. You’re forgiven!

Let the joy and peace now motivate you to live and work and love and serve. You’re forgiven!

Photo Credit: canorus (Creative Commons)

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