One thing us Christians have learned to live with is guilt. It’s something we’ve become quite good at, in fact, were known for it. Guilt about not measuring up to God’s requirements, guilt about the pet sins we cling so close to, even guilt for things we might not have even done.
What’s worse is that many of us feel that this is somehow pleasing to God. Maybe He wants us to feel guilty all the time so that we might carry the weight of our sins. Maybe purity can only come if we’re guilty enough to make a change in our lives.
But is this true? Does God want us to bear the guilt we so richly deserve? Not if you follow Scripture. 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I can feel the guilt already). If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Seems pretty clear, to overcome sin we must first know we are sinners, but if we then confess those sins, asking for forgiveness, He is faithful and just to forgive them. To God they are as far from us as the East is from the West. No more guilt to weigh us down, just new life to begin again.
From this verse we can see that God is not looking for guilt but, rather, renewal. That is why he gives us chance after chance after chance because, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Not guilt, but peace through faith found in God’s love.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer of the Sherlock Holmes novels, was quite a prankster. One day he played a prank on five of the most prominent men in England. He sent an anonymous note to each man, which simply said, “All is found out. Flee at once.” Within 24 hours, all five men had left the country.
We all have things to feel guilty about because we are all imperfect people caught up into a web of sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).
Yet, God gave us His Son to win for us salvation by taking all of that sin upon Himself so that he might take away any guilt through forgiveness that might drive a wedge between us.
Repentance is the key. God gave us repentance so that we might shed our mountain of guilt and lay it at the Savior’s feet. Jesus Himself tells us in Luke 15:7, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents then over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Almost sounds too good to be true, but it is. Still, it’s hard to shed the guilt we have held onto for so long. It seems wrong somehow. We constantly feel we haven’t paid a big enough price.
But give it up we must, “Casting all our anxieties on Him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). We must learn to give to God even our deepest regrets and our many reasons for guilt. He is offering you a new beginning, free from the shackles of guilt. A new life in Him that shows you what true freedom really is, “For, ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to shed our guilt at your feet. Teach us to learn from our mistakes, seek forgiveness and work for change. Bring us freedom and joy through repentance even from our most grievous sins. Amen.