CONDEMNATION VS. CONVICTION: How do You Tell the Difference?

Condemnation Vs. Conviction

It amazes me how I can go from praising the Lord while singing along with Christian music in my car, to yelling at the person who cut me off—almost simultaneously. But sometimes I react and then regret.

Then the second half of the scenario plays out like this: the driver who angered me speeds by, oblivious to my plight. The music begins to fade into the background and finally disappear. Now I’m left with an onslaught of negative, harassing thoughts like, What kind of Christian are you? You’re such a phony!  A loser. “Real” Christians don’t have short fuses like you! When are going to get better with this issue?

A lot of believers hear condemning thoughts, and some even think it’s God. My friends, that is a LIE!

God will NEVER tell you what a sorry loser you are.

I can prove it to you, too. Take a look at what Jesus had to say:

“ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ” (John 3:17)

As Christ followers, we must be able to discern what we are hearing in our minds: conviction from the Holy Spirit or condemnation from an unholy spirit.

Listen, this is super important because many of us waste valuable time wallowing in condemning thoughts that center around self. This is a major tactic of the enemy to keep us focused inward rather than upward, on God and outward, on our mission to a lost world in need of hope. We cannot offer hope to anyone if we have lost hope ourselves.

Condemnation renders us out of commission to accomplish the Great Commission.


1: CENSURE, BLAME  2:  the act of judicially condemning.

Condemnation comes from Satan. It is an attack designed to accuse and tear you down. Revelation 12:10 refers to Satan as the accuser of the brothers and sisters.

Condemnation continually points out what a failure you are, and how badly you’ve messed up. But the biggy is this:

Condemnation shows you the problem without offering a solution. 

The Bible tells us “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1


The Bible refers to conviction as godly sorrow. We will feel grieved in our spirit, but that grief leads us to the Father.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Condemnation says, “You’re such a failure!” Conviction says, “Come to me and I will forgive you.”

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18

The Holy Spirit will convict us when we sin. And that is a good thing because sin is a problem. Sin separates us from our holy God. Conviction feels a bit like an uncomfortable separation. A godly sense of sorrow. Along with godly sorrow comes the hope of forgiveness an opportunity for teaching and correction.

Satan will condemn and guilt, showing us the problem. God lovingly convicts, showing us the solution that leads to repentance. I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this…a lot. My prayer is this article served as a reminder of God’s wonderful nature to convict, forgive, and correct.

Shows only the problem

Godly sorrow
Points to the Father
Shows the answer

 When we mess up (and we will) and the negative thoughts begin (and they will too), we must train ourselves to STOP and ask, Is this teaching me and pointing toward forgiveness? Or, is this accusing and showing me only the problem?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.

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19 thoughts on “CONDEMNATION VS. CONVICTION: How do You Tell the Difference?

  1. Beckie — wow. Wonderful blog on distinguishing the difference between conviction and condemnation. I love how you describe that Satan condemns and God convicts and provides a solution. Very eye opening and a great lesson. Thank you . Del

    Liked by 1 person

    When we mess up (and we will) and the thoughts begin (and they will too), we must train ourselves to STOP and ask, Is this teaching me and pointing toward forgiveness? Or, is this accusing and showing me only the problem?


  3. Pingback: CONDEMNATION VS. CONVICTION: How do You Tell the Difference?

  4. This is so true, Beckie! If we are not careful, we will believe those condemning, critical voices in our head telling us we are not worthy to be a child of God. Holy Spirit convicts, Condemning thoughts do not come from the Lord. Satan can not longer accuse the brethren. It is us who have to renew our minds. Thanks for this timely read, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Beckie, for defining this difference for us. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, only conviction, forgiveness and mercy. May none of us get trapped by thoughts perpetrated by Satan.
    Oh, and I could sure identify with the driving the car scenario. Whew! Behind the wheel is too often where I slip up in remembering to act in a Christ-like fashion. Always, and immediately, ask God’s forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Martha, Yes, I play Christian music and often pray when driving in hopes of being a Christ-like driver. Well, when we ask God for help with things such as driving, of course He is faithful to give us the opportunity to exercise His ways! Our job is to do just that…display His character and ways that He has taught us through His Son and His word. Easier said than done when in a traffic jam with people who really seem like they don’t know how to drive!
      Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, Heather. I have done the very same thing! Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad this was encouraging to you. Praying you take those icky condemning thoughts captive in Jesus’s name and replace them with the ones that Christ REALLY says to us.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant. I did a study on this a few years ago. I was feeling guilty all the time even when I repented. This is a vital truth for all believers. THank you for sharing, my friend.


  7. Cherrilynn, I’ve been there too! I wrote this based on my own journey, God’s word, and some biblical scholars with much wisdom. I’m glad you found it helpful
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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