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Noel Coward, a well known British playwright and comedian in the 20th century, once played a prank on ten famous men in London. He sent each of these distinguished men the same note which read: “We know what you have done. If you don’t want to be exposed, leave town.” Within six months all ten men had moved out of London.

Guilt is a powerful emotion; it holds us captive and excludes us from sharing an intimate relationship with God and others. While nothing more than a cruel prank Noel Coward’s note exposed the guilt each of the recipients carried. Fear of exposure caused each of them to move so they could keep their sin hidden.

What is the key to unlocking the chains of guilt that hold us captive? Guilt and shame become a self-made prison that excludes us from entering into the joy of God’s presence.