Friday, November 5, 2010

Overcoming Guilt

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.  Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.  –Psalm 25:5-7 

All of us know the pain we suffer when we recall something that causes us to feel guilty.  Sometimes guilt is part of the work of the Holy Spirit, reminding us of our need to repent about some sin or something that is interfering with our relationship with the Lord.  I am always concerned about anyone who feels no remorse about some wrong they have done.  The Bible says that the conscience can become seared as with a hot iron to the point that the person should feel guilt but he or she no longer does (I Timothy 4:2).  

Consider also that guilt can be destructive.  We can often feel guilty about the past when God has indeed forgiven us.  When God forgives us He truly forgives us – never to bring it up again.  So why do we feel guilty about it all over again?  One reason is that the devil likes to discourage us, and if he thinks he can do so through trying to make us feel guilty about the past, even though it has been forgiven, then he will exploit that as much as possible.

Psalm 25 is a personal look into the heart of David of the Old Testament.  David had some ups and downs, he had some weaknesses, yet scripture speaks of him as having been faithful.  What do we know of David’s youth?  He was a courageous young man who tended his father’s sheep.  At times he took on lions and bears in defense of the flock in his care.  He is best known for having engaged in single combat with the giant Goliath.  We would think about David’s youth as being exemplary.  However, David himself didn’t see it that way.  Apparently there were some sins in David’s past that no one knew about but him and God.  Am I being harsh or judgmental?  No, I am just looking at the Bible.  We might read this and think, “David?  Rebellious?  No way.”  Well, the Bible doesn’t lie and we have David, by his own words, confessing that there were sins in his past that still haunted him. 

We can no more speculate on what those sins were any more that we can speculate about each others’ pasts.  We all have sins of the past for which we have had to ask God for forgiveness.  Those sins must be dealt with by confessing them to God, seeking forgiveness, and then claiming God’s forgiveness.  We are called to give our sins over to the Lord and accept the forgiveness He offers.  Christ has paid the penalty for the sins we have committed, and He can and will wash us clean from brokenness, sin, fear, and a troubled past.

Look to the Lord today and claim the forgiveness He has made available.   

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