Guilt is a common feeling that many people experience at some point in their lives. It is the feeling of responsibility or remorse for something you have done wrong. In the Bible, guilt is often associated with sin and the feeling of being unworthy in the eyes of God. However, the Bible also offers guidance on how to overcome guilt and find peace and forgiveness. Understanding how to manage these feelings is critical to living a successful and happy Christian life.
All around us are souls who are weighed down with feelings of guilt. We find them at work, school, social gatherings, and even at church. These feelings can cause serious emotional effects. Guilt can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair, which can contribute to depression. It can cause feelings of fear and worry, which can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. When we feel guilty, we may feel unworthy or inadequate, which can lead to low self-esteem. Guilt can even make us feel ashamed and embarrassed, which can cause us to isolate ourselves from others. It damages relationships, often causing us to be less open and honest with those we love.
You may be wondering, from where do these harmful feelings originate? According to one author, "It is not hardship, toil, or poverty that degrades humanity. It is guilt, wrongdoing. This brings unrest and dissatisfaction" (Desire of Ages, p. 822). Another word for wrongdoing is sin, which is the transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4). Therefore, sin is the root cause of guilt. And these feelings, if not properly addressed, will completely disrupt our Christian experience. That is because it is impossible for faith to thrive in a guilt-ridden soul.
If you can identify with any of these feelings, listen up. This may be one of the most important lessons you could ever learn. There is a solution. But before I share the solution, I want to reveal the devil's strategy to keep you in a constant state of guilt. He doesn't want you to know this, because he fears that you will discover that he is a liar, and that your discovery will lead you to find peace in Christ. Therefore he desperately seeks to keep you from seeing the truth on this subject. The apostle Paul writes, "The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
So what's the devil's strategy? First, he tempts us to sin and commit wrongdoing until we finally step over the line. Then he seeks to discourage us, by accusing us of committing the sin! "See what you did!" He taunts. "What hope is there for you? There is no use trying. You are lost. Do you think He will save you with all those sins? There is no hope for you." Satan suggests a myriad of thoughts such as these with the goal of plunging us into despair. He knows that feelings of guilt will crush our faith and leave us helpless against his future attacks. But we must remember that he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
So what's the solution? Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer of the 16th century, suffered from depression and guilt too, until he discovered God's plan for recovery. One day he was very discouraged. It seemed as if there was no use trying to live the life of faith, since every attempt ended in failure and defeat. He was extremely discouraged until one day, he had a dream that would change his life forever. He dreamed that the devil came into his room in Wartburg Castle. Everything was dark; everybody was against him. The devil presented a long piece of paper, a parchment, that reached down to the floor. He held it up, and on that piece of paper was a record of all Martin Luther's sins. The devil then asked, "Did you commit all these sins, Brother Martin?" Luther simply hung his head. "Yes," he said, "I committed them all." The devil then taunted, "Then what hope is there for you?"
Luther was profoundly discouraged but noticed that during the exchange, the devil was keeping his hand over something towards the bottom of the list. Finally he asked, "What is that under your hand? Take your hand away; let me see it all." He made the devil take his hand away, and what do you think he saw?" There in red ink, it said, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleans us from all sin." In this moment, Luther realized that it was ok to release a lifetime of guilt by casting it on Jesus Christ. "Cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
Right now, God wants to do the same for you. If you have carried the burden of guilt with you for years, know that today, you can give it to Jesus. Don't allow your past to dictate your future. The devil has attempted to keep his hand over this truth when you are discouraged. But today, the devil's hand has been removed. Claim this promise and believe it. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleans us from all sin." This promise is for you. It is for every believing soul who comes to Jesus just as they are.
Guilt is an emotion that God never wanted us to experience. And He longs to set you free. Place your feeling of guilt in His hands by praying this prayer with me:
"Jesus, I'm thankful that You are willing to bear my burden, right now. I must admit, I have struggled with a wide spectrum of emotional difficulties over the years, but today, I release these to You. Lord, You can take them all. Please help me to detect and reject the devil's lies. I rest in Your promise that You will give me rest. Thank you for giving me Your peace. In Your name I pray, Amen."
Praying for you,