Summary: To find my freedom in Christ, I need to openly examine and confess my faults to God, to myself, and to someone I trust.

In this series, we're taking the word "Recovery" and using each letter to represent steps that help us get unstuck from the habits that overtake us, the hang-ups that overwhelm us, and the hurts that overshadow us.

R - realize. Realize I'm powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable. E - earnestly. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and He has to power to help me recover. C - consciously. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ's care and control. Today we come to the fourth step that will help us find our freedom in Christ, represented by the letter "O". O - openly. Openly examine and confess my faults to God, to myself, and to someone I trust.

The truth is, none of us is faultless. We all have sins, we've all made mistakes. We all have regrets. So what do we do? We deny our guilt. We repress our guilt. We blame others for our guilt. We excuse our guilt. We rationalize our guilt. As a result, we carry our guilt around, sometimes consciously, but often unconsciously. There're a lot of ways you react in life that are caused by unconscious guilt, things you're not even aware of, things you feel bad about.

"The problem's never the problem." - Dixon Murrah

If you're really going to recover from hurts, habits, and hang-ups in your life, you've got to learn how to let go of guilt. (READ TEXT)

1. Why must we deal with guilt? - vs. 1-4

A. Guilt destroys your confidence.

You can't be a confident person with unresolved guilt in your life. You feel insecure because you're always worried about someone finding out about whatever you've done that has made you feel guilty.

Arthur Conan Doyle, writer of the Sherlock Holmes novels, once famously played a prank on 5 of the most prominent men in England. He sent an anonymous note to each read, "All is found out, flee at once." Within 24 hours all five men had left the country.

Guilt makes you live in constant fear of someone finding out. But even if you are successful in fooling others, you can never fool God.

"You spread out our sins before you - our secret sins - and you see them all." - Psalm 90:8 (NLT)

You know what guilt is? It's the call of God to come clean. You see, even if we're successful in hiding our guilt from others, we can't hide it from God. He desperately wants to bless us (vs. 1-2) but is prevented from doing so as long as we try to hide our guilt and don't deal with it.

B. Guilt damages your relationships.

A teenage boy came in 2 hours after his midnight curfew. He killed the car lights, cut the ignition, took his shoes off, doing everything possible to slip in quietly. It was 2 AM. As he walked down the hallway, a light came on in his parent's bedroom and his mom asked, "What time is it?" It's midnight, Mom," he replied. But at just that moment, the family cuckoo clock let out two cuckoos. So Billy stood in the hallway and cuckooed ten more times!

Now, do you think that boy fooled his mother? Of course not.

"You can be sure that your sin will track you down." - Numbers 32:23 (The Message)

“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” - Abraham Lincoln, September 2, 1858, Clinton, Illinois,

during the Lincoln-Douglas debates

If that's true in politics, how much more in our personal relationships?

1) Guilt can cause me to respond to people in wrong ways. Guilt can make me impatient with others. It can make me overreact in anger. I can be doubly hard on someone who's done the very same sort of thing.

2) Guilt can cause me to relate to people in wrong ways. Guilt can make me indulge people. Parents compensate by indulging their kids. It can cause me to avoid commitments. I get close, but no closer. Why? Guilt. Lots of problems are caused by things that happened prior to marriage, a spouse still feels guilty about.

C. Guilt draws my focus on the past.

I can't improve the present if I'm focused on the past, and that's what guilt does. Focusing on the past can give perspective, but it can't give peace. Guilt can't change the past any more than worry can change the future. But God can change everything.

2. How do we deal with guilt? - v. 5

We go to God with our guilt. Christ died to forgive you. Forgiveness is available and a bright future is possible because of the cross.

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