It’s funny how the first negative emotion I associate with sin is guilt, when I suspect that what will really and truly overwhelm me is grief.
Guilt remains an inward-looking feeling. Grief is contextual, triggered by comparison. Guilt narrows. Grief widens.
I will weep over how I wasted my time chasing silly things (um, practicing idolatry) not primarily because idolatry is wrong and partaking in it makes me feel icky and guilty, but because it is SUCH A WRETCHED SHAME. SADNESS. SORROW. Do you know what I mean? Beloved child of Christ, ransom paid with blood, made holy in the image of God — selling herself to sin. A princess preferring to be a prostitute. God is angry, yes, but He is also GRIEVED.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Genesis 6:5-6, ESV
It hurts me, but I can only imagine how much more it must hurt God. We manage to declare that we love God (requisite eye-closing and arm-raising included) and then immediately proceed to bury our heads in sin, causing Him grief. I do that with those I love most, too — I tell my parents I love them every single day but how I must grieve them when I fail to take care of myself / take their unconditional love completely for granted