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Daily Devotion

Who Ate My Pumpkin Pie?

By Michelle Jeter


“Somebody ate my pumpkin pie!” Conversation stopped and heads turned. Our Egyptian friend Hassan pointed to the end of the dining room table. “It was right there, and now it's gone!”

Everyone was nibbling slices of pumpkin pie that Grandma and I had baked the day before. Relatives, neighbors and international students filled the house and spilled out to the back patio at my family's big Thanksgiving celebration. Plates of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce had already been scraped clean.

“Wasn't me!” “I didn't eat it!” Heads shook in response to Hassan's announcement of the missing pie. No one claimed responsibility.

Maybe it was ME, I thought. I tried to remember how it could have happened. I had been in and out of the kitchen, serving food and clearing away dirty dishes. It's quite possible that I had picked up his plate by mistake. I started feeling guilty. I must have eaten it.

“Um, Hassan... I think I ate your pie,” I confessed. “I'm so sorry.”

Hassan looked at me in exaggerated shock. “YOU ate my pie? I didn't think you would do such a thing.” He pretended to be hurt.

“Don't worry,” I responded hurriedly, “I think we have one more piece in the kitchen.” Gladly accepting my offering, Hassan told me all was forgiven. But I was thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed. How could I have done that? I berated myself inwardly. I should have noticed that it wasn't my plate.

Forking a generous mouthful, Hassan grinned mischievously. “Mmm-mmm! This sure is delicious. Almost as good as the first piece!”

He laughed at my confused look. “Nobody stole my pie,” he admitted slyly. “I ate it myself. But it was nice of you to take the blame so I could get another piece!”

I could feel my face flush as the truth sunk in. I had actually convinced myself that I was responsible for something I hadn't done. I had accepted the blame and made myself feel guilty unnecessarily.

“Guilt is sort of like spiritual cholesterol,” writes Dr. James Bradford in his article "Good Guilt, Bad Guilt". “There is the good kind and the bad kind.”

The difference, says Bradford, is hope. II Corinthians 7:10 states,

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (NIV).

“Worldly sorrow” is the bad kind of guilt. It leads to condemnation, shame and despair. But “godly sorrow” is the good kind of guilt – when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sins we have committed. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and restoration.

Do you feel guilty for things that you don't need to feel guilty about? Is your guilt stemming from conviction or condemnation? You don't have to suffer under condemning thoughts. Romans 8:1-2 affirms,

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Receive that life-giving Spirit and be free of the “bad guilt” today!

Michelle Jeter © 2011, printed with permission

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A graduate of Regent University’s School of Education, Michelle Jeter has lived in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Now based in Virginia Beach, Michelle writes for Fresh Start about forgiveness and freedom in Christ at www.freshstartforallnations.wordpress.com.

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