#13 - Guilt "And you forgave the guilt of my sin..." [Psalm 32:5]
Guilt is a crippling issue for many people. We all have things in our life for which we feel ashamed. I have done things in the past, and I have hurt people, in ways that to this day make me cringe. The words that have come out of my mouth, the actions that I have taken in anger or frustration, when pondered, make me hang my head.
I know that I am not alone in this. I know that being sinful is part of the human condition. Yet, there are some things - some events - that plague people for many years throughout their lives. Make no mistake - all sin separates us from God. From the little white lie to the bank robbery, all of this separates us from God. Yet, there are sins which have a greater impact on our relationships - both with God and with others. [I know that seems contradictory, but even Jesus said things along this line. When before Pilate Jesus said to Pilate, 'he who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin...' (John 19:11)]
When we commit sin of this kind - of a faith destroying kind - the kind of sin that impacts not only us but those around us, often the guilt is of a much greater kind. We see the wreckage we have caused families - perhaps even our own. We see the societal implications of our sin and we see the tarnish it has placed on our witness and it makes us grieve deeply. What do we do with this kind of thing? What do we do with the guilt?
As a pastor I have had the opportunity to sit down with many people who are plagued with guilt over their past sins. Though the sin in question may have happened years ago, they still carry around with them, almost daily, the guilt and the pain and the responsibility of that sin.
The answer, as always, is bringing that sin to the cross and allowing Jesus to do what He does best - forgive.
King David was, as God said, "a man after My own heart." [Acts 13:22] Yet, King David was a grave sinner. You can read the entire account in 2nd Samuel 11-12; however, I will briefly here simply tell you that this great King committed adultery, murder, theft [stealing another man's wife], coveting, bearing false witness, and misusing God's name all at once. He made many widows in Israel when he committed the murder he committed. He took another man's wife, got her pregnant, murdered her husband, married the woman, and played off the child as if it were his own after marriage. I have never met in my life a man that did the things that David did.
David was confronted with his sin in 2nd Samuel 12; and in that meeting showcased why God could call David a man after his own heart - David confessed his sin. He did not blame the woman. He did not blame her husband. He did not justify his actions. He did not talk about the circumstances of the issue. He simply admitted guilt and confessed. And God forgave.
Now, there were societal implications for what David did. He had to grieve over the death of his son. Yet, God still forgave David - and one of the Messiah's title's in the New Testament is still, "Son of David."
In retrospect, David writes about this time in his life in Psalm 32. He says that when he kept silent about his sin and hid his sin his bones wasted away. But when he acknowledged his sin - when he admitted his sin - when he confessed - "God forgave the guilt of my sin."
We need to understand something amazing about God. Jesus did not simply die for our sins [He did that.] He took the punishment - emotional, psychological, and spiritual, for our sins. Guilt is called conviction when left unconfessed. However, as soon as we are moved by God's Spirit to admit what we have done, confess our sins, then Jesus' blood washes over us. Not just objectively paying for the sin - but also paying for all the consequences of sin - including our guilt.
Let me be clear - once a sin has been confessed to God and confessed to the person we have sinned against - once we have truly sought to confess - Jesus forgives us. He forgives us objectively and subjectively. Our sin is paid for at the foot of the cross.
So please hear today - whatever sin you may have - confess it. Admit it. And receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Amen.