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Why Piers Morgan doesn't need 'Catholic guilt'

British journalist TV host, and talent show judge Piers Morgan
British journalist TV host, and talent show judge Piers Morgan | Reuters/File

Piers Morgan is a well-known journalist and television personality who has spoken openly about his Catholic upbringing. "I don't go to confession, probably because it would take me too long." He said "there is not a lot" he feels guilty about. Morgan certainly doesn't seem to suffer from Catholic guilt, which has been defined as "excess guilt felt by Catholics and lapsed Catholics." 

Madeleine Burgess penned an article titled, "Catholic Guilt is Complicated," in which she explains what she believes it takes to be "a certified Catholic." She wrote, "I've only occasionally believed in God and I wouldn't consider myself a religious person. Despite this, I've been baptized, had Communion, and been confirmed — meaning I'm a certified Catholic ... I go to church twice a year, on Easter and Christmas, to make my grandmother happy." 

Catholic guilt tends to be rooted in compulsory religious rituals. Stressing over religious externals is a far cry from understanding the Gospel and having a warm personal relationship with the Lord. The only way to be delivered from Catholic guilt is to bring your sins directly to Jesus. You simply ask God to forgive you as you turn away from sin in sincere repentance, which I explained in my CP op-ed, "Going to Confession' Must Include Repentance and Renunciation of Sin." 

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Sadly, no one benefits from Catholic guilt. It does not come from the Holy Spirit and does not lead to righteous living. It merely bogs a person down in either works righteousness or spiritual apathy. God works in a person's heart to produce the appropriate kind of guilt necessary to be saved. Jesus said, "When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8).

One of the many wonderful things about having a relationship with God is that the Lord actually takes up residence within you. The Apostle Paul wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). 

The sad reality is that Catholic guilt can actually prevent a person from being born again. Jumping through religious hoops never fixes the problem. We desperately need God to do a deep work within us bringing us to repentance and faith.

The Holy Spirit convicts believers when we sin with our thoughts, words, or deeds. And since every Christian is born again, we also experience the joy of having our sin and shame removed by God's grace. When we confess our sins to the Lord, we receive God's healing power and forgiveness within our souls. Nothing in all the world is more liberating!

There are many people who engage in religious rituals but have not yet received Jesus by faith. The Apostle John wrote, "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). 

Believers experience the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin, and the grace of God teaching us to live a godly life (see Titus 2:11-12) and to keep short accounts with the Lord. But the comfort of the Holy Spirit is only applied to our soul when we confess our sins to God and rely upon Christ's sacrifice on the cross to remove our sins and our shame. The cleansing power of Jesus' blood is by far the greatest power in the entire universe.

You might remember Donald Trump's comments in 2015 when asked if he had ever asked God for forgiveness. "I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."

What about you? Do you bring God into the picture when you sin? Have you been able to get beyond religious guilt? Piers Morgan doesn't need Catholic guilt any more than you need Protestant guilt. But we all need the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins, leading to repentance and faith in Christ. Apart from faith in Jesus, a person remains lost in sin and separated from God forever.

There are plenty of people in Hell today who experienced religious guilt during their life on Earth, but who were never born again through faith in Christ. They wrongly assumed that their noble efforts would cancel out their sins. What about you? What are you relying upon in order to be saved from sin, death and Hell?

You will know you have experienced the necessary spiritual breakthrough once you begin trusting in Christ's death on the cross 2,000 years ago as your sole source of forgiveness and your guarantee of eternal life in Heaven. After you are spiritually converted, you will no longer rely upon your religious rituals and good works to get into Heaven. Do you understand why even a lifetime of good works does not wash away a single sin? 

Piers Morgan once said, "I want to interview the most important people in the world and have everyone in America the next day saying, 'Did you see that?'" But what will Piers have to say after he has conducted his final interview and is brought before the Lord to be interviewed by God on Judgment Day? And what will you and I have to say on that glorious and dreadful day?

The Christian rock band Third Day released a song in 2011 titled, "Trust in Jesus."  The lyrics pose this crucial question:

"What are you going to do when your time has come? And your life is done and there's nothing you can stand on What will you have to say at the judgment throne? I already know the only thing I can say I trust in Jesus, My great deliverer, My strong defender."

Do you trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and eternal salvation? Are you a follower of Christ? If not, I sure hope you will come to Christ today and receive the free gift of everlasting life in Heaven.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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