Guilt is a feeling we have all faced at some stage or the other of our life. However, by continuing to live in guilt, we tend to condemn ourselves and consequently ruin ourselves personally in addition to affecting our relationship with God and others. In my own life, I have experienced the negative impact of guilt.
I was once discussing with my spiritual elder a problem that I was facing in my prayer life. I was unable to remember Bible verses. I had tried various ways and methods of memorizing the verses but was not successful. My spiritual elder enquired whether I felt guilty about the fact that I was unable to memorize the verses. Although this question took me by surprise, after thinking about it for some time I realized that deep down in my heart I had condemned myself for my inability to memorise the verses.
Guilt is a weapon used by the Devil against us. How we deal with it, however, depends on each individual. The Holy Bible narrates to us the betrayal and denial of Jesus by two of His disciples, Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter respectively. While both Judas and Peter realized that they had sinned and felt guilty about it, how they dealt with their guilt is what distinguishes them. While Peter repented and came back to the Lord, Judas hanged himself.
The key factor defining us as a person in Christ is therefore – how do we deal with our guilt? Do we repent and return to the Lord or do we live forever in guilt. According to the Bible, Jesus came to this world to set us free from the guilt of our sins. We can either repent, forget our past, and move on in life to live a joyful life forever, or we can live in our guilt by constantly reminding ourselves of the past, our shortcomings and our sins. The Devil tries to ensure that we do not move forward but always live in our past by trying to stop us from forgetting our sins and failures.
The solution is to remember what we have been called to do. We all fall and commit sins, but instead of continuing in sin, we should be willing to repent and leave our guilt aside and follow Christ with a strong faith. Awareness about the wonderful gift of forgiveness given to us by the Lord enables us to overcome our guilt. However, to be forgiven it is essential that we repent from our sins. Trusting in the Lord and believing that our sins are forgiven and that we have been made clean and washed by the blood of Christ makes our life beautiful.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out”
Ps 38:4 “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”