God's Solution For Guilt
May mini-resolution - God's will is CLEAR CONSCIENCE not GUILT.
(1) Study found we experience 5 house of guilty feelings a week.
(2) Unresolved guilt is like snooze alarm in your head that won't shut off.
(3) Guilty feeling make it hard to concentrate, to think straight, to create.
(4) Guilt makes us reluctant to enjoy life.
(5) Guilty feelings make you feel heavier than you are and make you think physical activity harder.
#1 - Only God's solution for my guilt will __________________ .
"God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again." John 3:17 MSG
Guilt arises in our lives when we have wronged someone - (a) someone else, (b) God, (c) ourselves. Guilt is a feeling. Unlike other feelings, it doesn't exhaust itself when expressed. The more I feel guilt, the more guilty I feel. (Unlike sadness or anger or even euphoria that can spend themselves out.)
Guilt has created for us by God is a good thing - it's like pain. It keeps us away from wrong doing. But we need to know God's plan for dealing with our guilt. 3 choices: (1) Ignore it - doesn't go away. (2) Forget it - lose our conscience and the benefits of guilt. (3) Deal with it the way God intended.
Understanding my sin and Christ's provision:
"Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 NCV
Becoming "right with God" is the purpose of guilt. Like a sign post that points the way. "God, I feel guilty and I need Your help for my wrongs." God wants to SET US FREE from our guilt and our wrong-doing:
"We have been set free because of what Christ has done. Through his blood our sins have been forgiven. We have been set free because God's grace is so rich." Ephesians 1:7 NIRV
God's plan for our guilt is 100% effective. I'll explain how well it works in a minute. But first let's talk about God's solution for our guilt. It will work for me, but it will also require work from me.
(Not talking about salvation here, which is all Christ's work on the cross. I'm talking about God's solution for guilt for Christians, who have already received salvation but still experience guilt. That will require effort on our part!)
#2 - To be set free from my guilt requires:
A. __________________ with God.
Guilt is a feeling. Feelings often are not rational. We feel what we feel. Feelings are ok. God created us with feelings. But feelings should not control our lives. We need reason!
"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." Isaiah 1:18 ESV
Reasoning with God requires us to think through the why behind the guilt. What is it that is making me feel guilty? What does God's Word have to say about it? Does God want me to keep feeling guilty? No! He wants me to take advantage of His plan for my guilt. And if I do that my sins (wrongs) will be made right. So what do I have to do?
B. ___________________ to God.
"God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and
cleanses us from everything we've done wrong." 1 John 1:9 GWT
(1) telling God all about it. What I did that was wrong. Why it was wrong. How I'm feeling about it (guilty). How sorry I am about it.
(2) agreeing with God that this action was wrong. That I should feel badly about it. I not only wronged someone else (or myself), but I also violated God's right rules for living well. Often we do the telling to God but ignore the agreeing with God. And we wonder why we still feel guilty. Then there's one more...
(3) Trusting / believing what God says about my wrongs. God cleanses us. Makes us white as snow. (More about how effective God is in a moment...) If we've done both (1) and (2) and yet still feel guilty about something we've confessed, this is a clear indicator that we just don't believe God will do or is able to do what He promised.
#3 - How effective is God's solution for my guilt?
A. My wrongs are _________________ .
God: "I will be merciful to their wrong doing, and I will never again remember their sins." Hebrews 8:12 CSB
If God has forgotten our wrongs, that's the same as if they never happened. The record is wiped clean. The One person Who could remember for eternity, Who could hold us accountable for our wrongs forever says He has forgotten. Like everything else God does, God forgets perfectly. There is no better mercy available for us!
B. My wrongs are __________________ .
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 NIV
Not just forgotten but also forgiven. It's not like I got away with something - just forgotten. It's also forgiven. That means it's dealt with. It means I'm accepted. It means I will not be condemned for my wrong doing. The penalty is paid, but not by me. (Paid by Christ on the cross.)
C. My wrongs are _____________________ .
"He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." Psalm 103:12 NLT
Not just forgotten or forgiven, but removed as far away from us as is possible to be removed. How far apart is the east from the west? Consider how large God's creation / universe is? Our wrongs are no longer ours. God literally hauls away our trash / wrongs and we'll never see them / know them / experience them again!
#4 - God's solution for my guilt gives me a __________________ .
"Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIRV
If this is true then it only stands to reason that this brand new life, this new creation can not be burdened down by feelings of guilt. What kind of new creation would that be? The old is gone! What does that mean? It means the old life is gone. The old thinking is gone. The old wrongs are gone. A brand new life means a do over. A mulligan. A fresh start. A new beginning. This is NOT something that happens in the future, when we are resurrected. This means now. Present tense.
Conclusion. So what about when we - as brand new creations experience guilt? What about when we mess up and sin? We clearly are not perfect yet. We still possess this corrupted self with its wrong desires. OR what about when we remember something that we did that was wrong a long time ago?
We must keep coming back to #2 - reasoning and confessing with God. This is the ongoing work of the Christ follower. We recognize guilt as our need to go to the Father in prayer. We recognize guilt as the pain that makes us pull our hand back from the fire. We should be grateful. Guilt that leads us to a clear conscience.