"You can shine your shoes and wear a suit You can comb your hair and look a quite cute You can hide your face behind a smile One thing you can't hide when you're crippled inside"
John Lennon-The Beatles
Have you ever done something wrong, knew what you did was wrong, and then tried to cover it up? Even though it appears no one knew what you did, you have an uneasy feeling inside you that just wont go away. This is guilt.
When everything else is quiet, it’s the dis-quietness within you saying, “I wish I had never done that.” “I wish I could go back and do that differently. Guilt is the dread of the past; a pain that wells up within our heart because we committed an offense or failed to do something right. It is a phantom pain.
Guilt is defined as:
A common feeling of emotional distress that signals us when our actions or inaction's have caused or might cause harm to another person—physical, emotional, or otherwise.
Why does God allow us to feel guilty?
Healthy guilt is a gatekeeper and boundary-maker. It helps us discover where we shouldn’t go in life, what we shouldn’t do. And it helps us make amends when we do cause others pain and related hardships. Guilt helps us find our way back toward what’s right and repair the torn portions of our lives.
God does not choose to eliminate from our nature the capacity to experience guilt. True guilt is beneficial because it:
1) Stirs compassion towards others, taking the focus off ourselves and helps in protecting our relationships.
2) Convicts us of our wrongdoing.
3) Compels us to turn away from destructive behavior.
When we ignore our guilt or try to bury it in the deep recesses of our souls, we are lying to ourselves. It cripples us on the inside.
“If we claim to be without sin [guilty before God], we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us...If we claim we have not sinned [disobeyed God’s commands] we make him [God] out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives”
1 John 1:8-9
Without guilt, we would be counted among the most despised and wretched people. If there are no boundaries to our behavior, everyone would do whatever they desired and not worry about anyone else or the ramifications of what they do. If you do not feel guilt , you do not recognize there is wrong in what you did. Guilt is one of the most crippling diseases among people today. Psychiatrists and doctors say that unresolved guilt is the number one cause of mental illness and suicide. It prompts millions of Americans to gulp down pills to tranquilize their anxiety.
By looking at guilt’s opposite, we see how valuable healthy guilt is to maintaining the virtue of empathy and common decency. Thankfully, we feel guilt toward others because we understand that our actions somehow depleted another’s God-given value and dignity. We should treat each other well, and guilt reminds us when we don’t, helping us to avoid sin, the result of which is death.
So, what do we do about it? How can we relieve the pain caused by guilt?
You remember David in the Bible. The boy Shepard who slayed Goliath. David, one of God's most important followers was essential in weaving the relationship of God into the very life of the people. He experienced guilt.
You also know the story of when he became King David and met Bathsheba. He committed a double sin, adultery sand then murder.
Of all people, David had good reason for feeling guilty. He was crippled inside because of it. He had to deal with his guilt.
He writes :
"My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear" (Psalm 38:4 NIV).
For answers let's examine Psalm 32.
Scholars believe that David wrote Psalm 32 after he cried to God for forgiveness for his double sin. David's guilt was immense.
This Psalm offers practical steps to release one from guilt.
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.[b]
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin
Admit your guilt (v 5)
Confront your guilt (v 5)
Confess your guilt (v 5)
Forget your guilt (v 1-5)
David's release from guilt was sweet. Yours can be too.
Confession gets us to the forgiving God and the cleansing of God.
God will help because He is faithful to His promises to forgive sin.
Proverbs 28:13 says “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Jeremiah 31:34 says, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” God is just, in forgiving the sin of one who acknowledges sin.
Say Goodbye to Guilt and be free!!