1 John 1:9 NIV “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
The guilt that we often carry, for things that we have done in the past or even just recently, that we regret, can be a terrible thing. Guilt has a tendency to drag you down, not lift you up. And yet, throughout all of the Scriptures you see the recurring declaration of our sins being forgiven when we confess them to God and to one another.
Isaiah 1:18 NIV “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.”
James 5:16 NIV “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Matthew 18:21-22 NASB “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
When Jesus answered Peter’s question about forgiving someone, do you think that Jesus would ask us to do this if He wasn’t willing to do the same thing? And remember, Jesus told us that every word that He spoke, all that He did, came from the Father.
John 12:49 NIV “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.”
ROMANS 8:1 NIV “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Why then, do we find it so difficult to let go of the guilt that we feel about the sins that we have committed?
I don’t know about you but I can tell you from personal experience, hardly a day goes by that something comes across my mind that I’ve done in the past that I feel guilty about. And that’s just about what has transpired in the past. To make things interesting, there’s always today to deal with and because I’m such a smart fellow, I can even project guilt into the future by thinking about things that I should be doing, that I haven’t done.
Guilt can be crippling and it’s really something that we need to come to terms with.
When you really stop to think about it, feeling guilty about something that we have done and have confessed, and God has told us that it is forgiven, is actually an indication of a lack of faith in what God has said.
I think that a lot of why and how we deal with guilt like we do is based on the performance system that we are taught and that we witness, from early in our youth, on what is accepted or acceptable and what is not accepted on not acceptable. If I eat Johnny’s lunch at school, and I’m not Johnny, bad things happen. If I miss a deadline at work or fail to do the required followup as required, negative feedback usually happens. We’re programmed to succeed for approval and we’re programmed to expect rejection for failure. It becomes part of our pattern of logic or thinking without even being aware of it. It’s how the world works, it’s how we interact with one another. It’s why we have laws.
Remember the Law in the Old Testament? The Law is based on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. What we are to do and what we are not to do. Remember the sacrifices to atone for the inevitable shortfalls? God knows how the world thinks and how we think. The whole point of the Law was to make us aware that our God is a Holy God and that because we are as we are, in a fallen state of unholiness, we cannot, in and of ourselves, become Holy like God is and be united to Him. We can’t do it, God has to do it for us. And when we trust God, when we take Him at His Word, our dependency shifts back to the way it was before Adam and Eve assumed their and our own independence.
But our worldly logic or the way that we think, especially with regard to falling short and correcting shortfalls, does not correlate with the way that God thinks. Our solution is not His solution. Isaiah 55:8 NIV “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”
Galatians 3:24 NASB “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”
And what is faith if it is not believing in what God has said?
It’s why faith is so vitally important, from Genesis right through to Revelation.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
So, how do we get rid of the guilt?
Remember when the little children were brought to Jesus and His disciples tried to stop them in Matthew 19:13-15 NIV “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”
Children accept love, they don’t question it or analyze it, they just accept it. We open our arms and they run to us. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and we confess our sins and strive to walk in God’s Spirit, God forgives us, there is no condemnation, the shed blood of Jesus Christ washes away our sin. It’s the only way it can happen. It’s what it’s all about. God has said it. Believe it. Walk away from the guilt because God’s Word says it is gone.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!