“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22 (NLT)

The little girl let out a piercing scream that brought both parents running to her rescue. She had been playing on her grandparent’s farm and building a ‘fort’ in the wooded area behind the barn. Unfortunately, she’d chosen to build her fort in the midst of a nest of wood ticks! Her parents spent nearly an hour picking ticks off the scared and crying little girl.

After a thorough inspection, a warm bath and a bowl of ice cream on Grandpa’s lap she felt much better. She got down to play but decided to stay near the house and play with her dolls.

“A little scared to go play in the woods?” Grandma asked her gently.

“A little maybe,” was her reply, “But mostly I still feel itchy, like the bugs are still crawling all over me.”

We can all, no doubt, identify with the little girl in the story. We walk through a spider web or discover some insect on us and for some time later still feel it’s ‘presence’ on us.

The same can often be true of sin. We fail to do what we should, or do something we know we shouldn’t. We may even wander far from God and live a lifestyle we know is wrong or become addicted to drugs, alcohol or lust.

Like the Prodigal Son, we come crawling back to God. We confess our sin. We work hard at cleaning up our act. But deep in the corners of our mind is this sense of guilt and shame that we can’t shake. We pray about it. Read Scriptures. We talk to counselors, pastors or trusted friends. Still we are haunted, sometimes day and night by the feeling of guilt on our lives. Much like the little girl continued to feel the wood ticks on her body.

So, why is that? Is God so angry with us that he won’t let us forget? Are the reminders of our past signposts to make us be sure we were sincere? Does God’s forgiveness fall short of our expectations because our ‘sin was so bad’ that he’s going to haunt us for the rest of our lives?

The simple answer to that is a resounding NO! The Bible is very clear in several places that once we confess our sins to Jesus and ask his forgiveness those sins are forgiven. The moment you asked, the blood of Jesus cleansed you from the penalty of that sin. We can still feel guilty though for a variety of reasons.

If you have asked sincerely for your sin to be forgiven and still feel guilty it could be a matter of healing and healing takes time. Sometimes that healing is made longer because people keep bringing up your faults. Sometimes it can be due to constant ridicule. Religion is a great source of guilt as well with constant reminders that we are bad.

The biggest culprit in our struggle with a guilty conscience though is Satan. That great enemy of Christ-followers wants nothing more than to keep you in the prison of guilt and remorse. He’ll lie to you. He’ll use other people to lie about you. He can even use religion to keep you captive. Don’t listen to him. Listen to the words of Jesus. “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”. No matter how many times you come sincerely to Jesus he has promised to forgive you. Tell Satan to take a hike. Tell him to get lost. In Jesus Christ you are NOT GUILTY because of the blood he shed on the cross for you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’ve been carrying this load of guilt long enough. I now realize that the guilt I feel is a false belief that I’m not forgiven. I renounce the efforts of Satan to keep me in the prison of my soul. From this day forward I’m going to live in the freedom of your forgiveness. Amen.