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You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you. Proverbs 28:13 (GNT)

One time while camping in the north woods of Minnesota we saw an interesting phenomenon. When we retired for the night we’d unknowingly left a jar of peanuts open and on a table. In the early morning hours a chipmunk happened to come along and seeing an opportunity, climbed into the jar and filled his cheeks with delicious peanuts. Unfortunately, the mouth of the jar was just large enough for him to get in, too small for him to get out with his peanut-filled cheeks.

We watched from our camper as he tried repeatedly to escape, but to no avail finally, he took the only recourse he had. He emptied his cheeks and (I imagine) begrudgingly left his treasure behind.

There are times in life when we hold so tightly to things that they keep us from enjoying the freedom God intended for us to have. Guilt is one of those things. Guilt can be ‘real’ guilt, based on things we’ve done against God, against ourselves or against others. Guilt can be false as well, based on the words and activities of others who use their power to keep us subdued and imprisoned by their own anger.

Like the chipmunk, we struggle to move on with victory in sight, but never seem to be able to make that final leap, never seem to be able to rid ourselves of those feelings of guilt and failure that bog us down.

  • Guilt forces you to focus on the past and clouds your vision for the future;
  • Guilt focuses on your failures not your strengths;
  • Guilt sends inaccurate messages about who you are. It tells you that YOU are a bad person when in reality it was your actions that were bad, not you;
  • Guilt masquerades as anger (leading to bitterness);
  • Guilt is a breeding ground for fear & worry;
  • Guilt can shorten your life expectancy by raising your blood pressure, risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety disorders.

Millions of dollars are spent each year to find cures for a variety of illnesses. The good news is that medical science has made great strides in controlling or even curing many diseases that were once life ending.

The better news is that when we talk about guilt, the cure is already available to us…and it’s free! Guilt will never be resolved by a simple pill. Guilt will never be relieved by counselors or religion. Guilt can only be taken from us through confession to the one person who promises to grant us forgiveness and mercy.

Jesus Christ came to free you of the burden of guilt. He came to cleanse your guilty conscience. Other people may refuse to forgive you; other people may continue to remind you of your faults; there may be physical reminders of your poor choices that you will carry the rest of your life. But through confession of your sin, your guilt is taken away through Jesus Christ, who grants mercy to all of us.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I’ve been lugging this baggage of guilt with me for far too long. I confess my wrongs to you and ask you to forgive me and grant me mercy so that I can live free of the guilt that kept me captive. Amen.

 

 

 


“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.


Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34

There is one thing we will never be short of. There may be shortages of gas, or food, or money, but there will never be a shortage of people who are ready, willing and able to condemn us for something.

Sometimes, if we are honest, we get accused of things that are really pretty accurate. If you are like me you say things that you really wished you hadn’t said, or found a better time and way to say the things you needed to say.

Other times, however, people seem to line up ready to put us down for everything from the way we do our jobs to the clothes we wear. There will never be a shortage of people who find fault with us.

The whole eighth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Roman believers centers on one theme. We are not condemned! With Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord we are not answerable to anyone but him. He owns us. When we sin, and we will, he is the one we must confess our sins to. Do we ask forgiveness to the one we’ve harmed? Yes, of course. But sometimes people we ask forgiveness to like to keep reminding us of our faults. We don’t need to listen to that.

People may refuse to forgive us in order to hold us captive. In Jesus we have freedom. Not only did he die for you and rise from the dead so you could live. He goes before the Father on a daily basis to pray for you and to plead your case before God himself.

Do you have someone in your life that is holding you captive by reminding you of your fault? Are you bound by a guilty conscience for the things you’ve done in your past or the people you’ve hurt either intentionally or unintentionally? Today is the day to be free!

Jesus died for all of your sins once. There’s no need to keep killing yourself. Confess your sins to him. Ask forgiveness of others when needed. Then let go of the guilt and condemnation you and others put on yourself. In Jesus, you are free! When you live your life with a clear conscience before Christ you won’t be bound by the fickle emotions of those around you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. We both know I’ve made a lot of bad choices in my life. I’ve hurt people, done my own selfish things and not given you the praise you deserve. There are plenty of people around me who are willing to show me my faults and remind me of my failures. I give all that ugliness over to you. I release the pain they have caused in my life into your hands. Forgive me for my past sins. Help me when possible to seek the forgiveness of those I’ve harmed. Empower me with your Spirit to live in the freedom only you can give. Thank you for praying for me. In your name, Amen.

 

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