Condemnation or Conviction?

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

John 8:17 (ESV)

Do you ever wonder the difference between conviction and condemnation? How might that look in real life?

Let’s look at a few of the differences.

Condemnation comes from Satan. It makes us want to run from God.

Condemnation is broad. Yet is also personal. Condemnation rarely addresses specifics. It is used to create feelings of self-loathing. You are a bad person. You are stupid. You are lazy. You will never change. Condemnation is less concerned with our actions and more concerned with us feeling useless and unchangeable—a lost cause.

Condemnation causes despair. Satan is called the Accuser of the Brethren (Revelation 12:10), and he takes his job seriously. In Genesis 3:11, God asks Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” Adam and Eve felt shame. They wanted to hide. These two had a personal relationship with God. They walked with Him in the garden; however, their Accuser convinced them that they could not trust God. They feel hopeless.

Conviction comes from God.

Conviction speaks in specifics. Conviction says these specific acts you took brought you to this situation, and those actions need to change. Conviction leads us to repentance, not avoidance. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom on how to change and the power we need to make changes.

Conviction is empowering. The Bible tells us that we can know we are loved by God when He disciplines us. (Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19; Psalm 94:12) We feel secure in the knowledge that God corrects us and redirects us because of His love.

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT)

Are you struggling with feelings of condemnation? Those feelings are not of God. The Holy Spirit will be specific on what needs to change and then point you in the direction you need to go. There will be peace in the end, not despair. When the Holy Spirit convicts, there is hope.

When we mess up (and we all do), let’s run toward Jesus. Tell Him all about it, ask for His forgiveness, and thank Him for His patience in redirecting us. Jesus loves us and wants us to live an abundant life.

Here is an infographic to help you remember the difference between Conviction and Condemnation. Please get it here: Infographic

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  1. Thank you. The explanation and info graph brought clarity to some thinking I was having. I appreciate your wisdom.