Rick Warren on 'Christian guilt' and why some feel distant from God

Christians are taught to love God with all of their hearts, but still, some feel distant towards Him. Why? Because people are afraid that God in constantly judging them for their sins.

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church wrote on his website that a lot of people actually think that God is "looking down from Heaven, ready to yell 'Gotcha!' anytime you mess up." At the same time, people are so afraid of God and are extremely uncomfortable just talking about Him because they feel guilty.


Warren said that these people think, "If I get close to God, He's going to lecture me. He's going to remind me of all the things I've done wrong, and then I'll feel even worse!"

But the pastor said nothing could be further from the truth. "God is for your success in life; He created you for a purpose and wants you to succeed. It is God, your Creator, who will measure your success in life, and no one else," Warren stressed. "Knowing God is for you will change your whole perspective on life."

When people start to think that way, Warren said they will no longer be afraid of God.

However, Warren also explained that having God on one's side does not mean believers are free to do whatever they want. He stressed that Christians need to obey God wholeheartedly - and without delay.

"You don't procrastinate and say, 'I'll pray about it,'" he said. "Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience."

While understanding can wait, Warren said obedience cannot. In fact, instant obedience can teach Christians more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions.

"You will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding," he said. "As a child of God, you can bring pleasure to your heavenly Father through obedience. Any act of obedience is also an act of worship."