“How could I ever have done such a thing?” Chris asked herself. The Holy Spirit was convicting her and she felt miserable.
Are you troubled by feelings of guilt?
Perhaps you did something that clearly was against God?s Word and law. Perhaps you hurt someone with your words or actions. Or perhaps you entertained thoughts you knew were wrong. And now you may feel robbed of peace.
Who to Blame?
Doctors are continually faced with what to do about guilt in the lives of their patients. Often feelings of guilt have harmed people physically or emotionally. Some counselors try to explain guilt away and they may have some success. But in many cases all they succeed in doing is pacifying guilt temporarily or in pinning the blame on others. It?s true that in some cases others have caused us to feel false guilt. If we seek the truth, the Lord can reveal it to us and relieve us of that.
But wrongly blaming others for our problems can result in far greater difficulties. Guilt feelings come from the Spirit and the conscience which God has given all of us human beings. In speaking of Christ, John 1:9 says that He gives light to every person coming into the world. What can we do about the guilt that haunts us?
One wise secular counselor, Hobart Mowrer, developed a new professional approach to the matter of guilt that is much like that we find in the Bible. Believing that neurotic patients suffer from moral failure, he taught what is called “integrity therapy.”
Using this method, he encouraged his patients to take the consequences of what they do instead of blaming their troubles on others. Mowrer believed that future treatment of emotional illness would take guilt, confession, and atonement seriously. Thanks to his teachings, many other counselors now do this, and thus are now far better able to help their patients. For this way of dealing with guilt is the way the Bible teaches. And God’s Word has the right answers. Here are Biblical helps for banishing guilt:
The Old Testament’s Answer to the Guilt Problem
Perhaps no one sinned more flagrantly than King David. But when he prayed, he found peace with God and with himself. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love,” he pleaded, “according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:1-2,12).
The only Answer for Deliverance from Guilt
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It is not God’s will that people be burdened with their sins. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins. In Jesus Christ is forgiveness for all who repent and accept His sacrifice as full atonement. Only his blood can wash away our sins and cleanse us from guilt.
Confession to God is Good for our Souls
What can Christians do when they have backslidden and are burdened with guilt? God?s Word tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
We also must be willing to admit we were wrong, repent, and ask forgiveness. Jesus said that if we remember that someone has something against us, we should go and make peace with that person (Matthew 5:23). Regular application of these principles will keep us right with God. It will clear our minds and free us from guilt. We may have to live with the consequences of our actions, but at least thanks to Jesus Christ we can be delivered from the heavy burden of guilt!