“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” – Psalm 32:1-2
Have you ever regretted over past events or deeds? Ever wished you had done it differently? David walked with God all his life and was even known as a man after God’s own heart. But when he sinned against God, he hid it for a while. In this Psalm, David speaks of his experiences of sin, guilt, forgiveness and freedom. This inspired instruction holds many valuable lessons for us. We’ll understand how to deal with guilt and embrace our need for forgiveness.
Guilt is one of Satan’s biggest weapons against us. It tears us down, makes us feel dirty, unworthy, and robs of us of our faith and confidence in Christ Jesus. Guilt is truly the secret curse; it does terrible things to us. It is incredibly common, caused by failing to face issues in our lives. Guilt destroys our confidence. It can make us feel insecure; Guilt damages our relationships and keeps us stuck in the past. Many physical ailments are unrelated to guilt; some can be the direct result of guilt.
Not all guilt is bad; God created guilt to get our attention to prick our calloused conscience to move us to repentance. God created guilt to convict us of our wrong and convince us to do right.
True guilt is the result of an action or attitude contrary to the will of God. Such guilt results in repentance, accepts forgiveness, focuses on Christ’s works and reconciles with God and others. But false guilt is a self-condemning feeling that one hasn’t lived up to an expectation. It results in retreating from others, attempts to earn forgiveness by personal works and rejects God and others. If not properly dealt with, guilt can turn into a stronghold called shame.
While guilt is seeing what you’ve done, shame is seeing yourself as a failure because of what you’ve done. While guilt looks at sin, shame looks at you. Causes of guilt and shame are the despising of God’s Word and disobedience to it. When God sent His prophet Nathan, David confessed his sin and said “I have sinned against the Lord.”
How do we deal with our guilt?
Firstly, we must take responsibility for our actions. David expressed sorrow because he knew that his sin was first and foremost an insult against God. His lack of confession had resulted in the removal of blessing as well as deep emotional and spiritual pain. But later, David embraced the wonderful truths concerning God’s forgiving love and restoration and wrote “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).
Secondly, examine why you are feeling guilty. Determine if your guilt is true or false. Use Scripture as the only standard for determining true guilt.
Thirdly, receive the gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ who paid for your forgiveness.
Fourthly, give up dwelling on the past. Are you ignoring them? No! You are ignoring a lie, not the sin, because the sin has been dealt with and washed away. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” In Psalms 103:12 we read, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”
Understand that you cannot live the Christian life in your own strength. Allow Christ to transform you and live out His character through you. Continue to yield to the Holy Spirit’s direction through personal prayer and study of Scripture. God brings your feelings in line with the facts when you obey Him.