No one needs to be told that guilt is a negative thing. Very negative. I didn't discover that from a book or a seminar. No. That is my firsthand experience.
Guilt is a constant, uninvited companion that refuses to go away. It’s there when we wake up and stays with us as we go through the day and even lingers when we try to find rest or sleep.
It overshadows every part of life. It smothers joy and happiness. It brings grief and pain and great
suffering. It takes away our cheer,
laughter, and peace. It can even make
death appear to be appealing as the best and only answer.
I remember, as a 6th grade kid, doing
something wrong. I don’t even remember
what I did but the memory of the terrible guilt that plagued me remains fresh
in my mind even today.
I walked outside and looked up at the stars and prayed as fervently as I knew how that God would somehow forgive me. I begged Him and pleaded and cajoled but still, my guilt remained. I was miserable. I felt so terrible that I finally got up the courage to go to my teacher (it was an adult in my life as I recall) and confessed.
When that adult accepted my acknowledgment and even played it down and said everything was OK, it felt like a ton of bricks immediately fell off my back. It seemed I no longer walked but rather floated across the ground! I now felt like a kid I could like again and have fun with my friends! Energy and optimism returned to me.
Most any elementary classroom teacher can
probably cite examples of students caught cheating in their classroom. I had
a couple of good students, well mannered, respectful, and looked up to by other
students. Somehow, I discovered they had
cheated on a test.
My first response was confusion; these weren’t the
kind of kids who cheated. They were good
kids and did well in the classroom and on the playground with the other
Why would they cheat? It seemed so out of character for them. They were filled with embarrassment and shame
when confronted with their actions. Of
course, they immediately failed the test, and their parents were notified. The parents were as surprised as I was, but
the consequences for the kids was long lasting and purposeful.
These next words are difficult for me to write, but I know of no better way to expose the pain guilt can bring. Some of you will be able to identify with this experience.
Rob was a phenomenally successful businessman. He was in his late thirties, and well-loved in the town where he lived. He started a company with the only employee being himself and growing it to one hundred employees. It seemed he could hardly sneeze without it making the local newspaper.
Then he made a mistake in his personal life. It crushed him. His family looked on, knowing he was struggling mightily, yet feeling helpless to bring him comfort. He was unable to cope with the guilt and finally took his own life.
Guilt can be temporary. There is no need to accept it as a new fact of life. Why apply a permanent, irreversible fix to a temporary problem? The pain it brings to the ones we love is permanent.
There are multiple ways for a person to deal with guilt. Most are destructive in themselves and only temporarily relieve some of our anguish. These temporary band aids can include such things as illicit sex, alcohol, overwork, denial, and other destructive behaviors.
The good news is there is a solution to the guilt problem that is free and one hundred percent effective and brings immediate relief. In my internet research, I found nothing that was helpful for me. Many strategies were suggested but I found nothing useful. I will suggest a resource that I have always found helpful over the years.
Reading from the word, the Bible, has always brought me comfort and peace. Below are listed several verses to get you started.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) Do all you can to make things right, then, simply go to God and tell Him what you did wrong and that you are you’re sorry. He’ll take care of everything else == transforming you into a new creature.
“Come now, and let us reason together,’ ” says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18) God invites us to talk it over with Him, and He promises an outcome of great relief for us!
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12) God erases our sins from His memory!
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). What a great feeling of freedom to be separated from our sins and joined with God!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). If we follow Jesus and stay true to Him, we have no worries about the judgement; our guild is a thing of the past!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he
is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have
become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17) God freely gives us a brand new life – a new
heart that will help keep us from sinning again!
Yes, there is hope, abundant hope, to leave our guilt behind and grasp the hope, peace, and joy that Jesus provides! He is waiting for us to come to Him. Why wait any longer?
Want to get to know Jesus better? You may wish to check this out.