How to Deal with Guilt
What is guilt according to the Bible? Guilt in the Bible is primarily a condition. You may not feel guilty, but God declared all people guilty of sinning. We see that in Romans 3:23, “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” For all have sinned, there’s no exception. The condition of being guilty occurs when we violate God’s commands, laws, instructions, regulations or rules. Thus, guilt is the result of sinning, overstepping the boundaries of biblical morality and principles. Whereas the feeling of guilt is the function of one’s conscience. Conscience is moral awareness. Conscience reminds what you’ve believed to be right or wrong. Conscience can trigger the feeling of guilt when one’s actions, feelings and thoughts are contrary to what one believed. So, how do we deal with this?
1. Take a personal inventory of your life and recognise your sins.
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality failed as with the dry heat of summer.” Psalm 32:3-4.
· King David wrote this after his sinful episode with Bathsheba.
· As king of God’s chosen people, David knew the law of God and yet he willfully disobeyed and rebelled against it.
· The Lord used David’s conscience to accuse him of sinning.
· As representative and carrier of God’s covenant with Israel, David’s life must be subjected to God’s sovereignty. See verse 4.
· God used David’s conscience like “bit and bridle to hold him in check.” See Psalm 32:9.
· We take must a personal inventory of our life so we can recognise our sinfulness and as a test of our faith, whether genuine or not.
“5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you.” 2 Corinthians 13:5
2. Confess your sins.
“5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And I did not hide my guilt; I said, “I will confess my wrongdoings to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found…”
· Confession changes the heart.
· This inner change will also change our character.
· We confess to God as well as to those whom we have wronged so we can make biblical adjustments and receive God’s blessings in relationships.
James 5:14-16, “14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 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.
· Confession is the consequence of repentance.
· Confession demonstrates one has received God’s gift of repentance. See 2 Timothy 2:25-26.
· A person who repents will be instructed with God’s truth. He will turn to God’s word for teachings, correction, and instructions on how-to live-in peace with God and with others. See Psalm 32:9.
· The penitent sinner who confesses all his or her guilt to God and to those he’s done wrong will be released from divine chastening. See Psalm 32:4
3. Ask for forgiveness.
“How blessed is he whose wrongdoing is forgiven; Whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is a person whose guilt the Lord does not take into account,And in whose spirit there is no deceit!” Psalm 32:1-2.
· Asking for forgiveness releases us from guilt.
· The Lord releases His blessings into the penitent sinner.
· It is the remedy to the condition and feeling of guilt.
One must receive Jesus as…
· perfect and able to take away all our sins. See 1 John 3:5.
· the One who bore all our sins on the cross. See 1 Peter 2:24.
· enough for us because He is the Son of God who became like us in form. See Colossians 2:9.
· the only source of eternal salvation from the punishment of sins. See Hebrews 5:9.
When you take an honest personal inventory of your life, you will recognize your inability to save yourself from the effects of sin. Thus, the next step must be confession, ask God for His forgiveness, then to receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus.