Guilt

Guilt: a word that may or may not figure too much in your thinking.

‘An awareness of having done wrong or committed a crime, accompanied by feelings of shame and regret’ (Thanks to Encarta Dictionary: UK)

When we think of guilt we may think of law courts. Recently a fire officer, distraught and devastated at not rescuing those trapped in a burning building, used the word ‘guilt’. He ‘felt guilty’.  It is possible to feel guilty for a number of reasons, as guilt carries with it a set of feelings that are associated with shame, regret, sorrow, pain and injury.

There are a small minority of people who commit acts and they have no remorse, no feelings of wrong and have no regret. I wonder if with the decision to condemn Jesus to death Pilate had any remorse, regrets; or even negative thoughts?

Many of us will be familiar with the word, Sin. A very powerful word.  I’m not going to try and explain it, look it up and fix it in your mind, When I became a Christian the word sin came into my vocabulary, until then the word was a religious word and meant nothing to me. But guilt was a friend that I knew, it revealed itself when I did something that was wrong or felt wrong; like nicking a mars bar from the sweetie shop! Yes, I confess and live in hope that the police have lost the trail… But I couldn’t say I was committing a sin, I just felt guilty. And I think that this is the point, guilt brings out feelings. Guilt and feelings are bedfellows. In my history of being aware of right and wrong there is buried from sight those moments when, (and only if I dare to look) there are still feelings attached to things that I have done that make me feel guilty.

No I didn’t murder anyone, become a slave trader, smuggle drugs or any other major crime. I know there are people who do these things and worse. And there are those who having met with the saving power of Jesus and having renounced act’s that generate the bedfellows of guilt and feelings, still feel the shadow of guilt.

For some reason guilt continues to be a shadow from the past even though I am forgiven and have been born again through the death and resurrection of Jesus. I am a new creation. The shadow persists and when it reveals itself it can remind me that I am guilty.

If you have a shadow from the past that brings on feelings of guilt I believe I have the answer. Well not literally me; as you might expect when we turn to Gods word He has the answer, the antidote to cure the shadow that rears its head and plagues us, the shadow of guilt.

In the bible the book called Psalms, Chapter 32 second part of verse 5 we read this:

“I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Wow! That’s just the best good news; ‘You forgive the guilt of my sin.’ I don’t need to carry the shadow of feeling guilty. So not only do I know the love of Jesus and his salvation, Jesus forgives the guilt of my sin. The burden has been lifted.

No matter whether it’s caused by a stolen mars bar or something much more horrendous, the guilt I felt and its associated feelings have been forgiven.  It’s a great verse; ‘You forgave the guilt of my sin.’ Thank you Jesus.

Image Credit: Jason Betz