Summary: COMING CLEAN OF GUILT
We’ve been in a series that I’ve been calling The Road to Recovery and we’ve been looking at how do you handle your hurts, habits, and the hangups that are messing up your life. We said that we’re taking the word "Recovery". Each week looking at a different letter to represent eight steps that help us get unstuck from the habits that mess us up, from the problems that would cause us difficulties, the memories we can’t seem to let go of.
The first week we talked about the Reality Step -- Realize I’m not God, that I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable. In reality I realize that I have problems I can’t seem to control.
The next week we talked about the Hope Step -- Although I’m powerless to control all the problems and all the things in my life, God has the power to control them and E stands for earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and He has to power to help me recover.
Last week we talked about the Commitment Step -- It’s not enough to know that I’ve got problems and not enough to know that God can solve them, but I must consciously turn them over to Him. I must make a commitment of all my life and will and say, "God, here is my life, the good, the bad and the ugly." And God begins to take those problems and begins to work on them. We call that the Commitment Step.
STEP FOUR -- HOUSECLEANING STEP.
It has to do with cleaning up the past, letting go of guilt, gaining a clear conscious, learning to live guilt free and the way God wants us to live. If you’ll take this step with me tonight you’re going to feel a whole lot better a week from today.
O STANDS FOR OPENLY EXAMINE AND CONFESS MY FAULTS TO GOD, TO MYSELF, AND TO SOMEONE I TRUST.
Why is this a part of the Recovery process? Guilt keeps us stuck in the past. Guilt keeps us from growing, from becoming all God wants us to be. If you’re going to learn how to really enjoy life, you’ve got to learn how to let go of guilt. The truth is, none of us is faultless. We all have sins, we’ve all made mistakes. So we all have regrets. We all have remorse. We all have things we wish we could turn back the clock on and say, "I wish I would have done that differently," but you didn’t. So you feel bad about it, feel guilty about it, carry it with you. As a result we carry guilt around. Sometimes consciously, but most of the time unconsciously. There are 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. We may deny the guilt. We may repress the guilt. We may blame other people for our guilt. We may excuse our guilt. We may rationalize our guilt. But we still feel the effects of it. If you’re really going to recover from the hurts, and habits, and hangups in your life, you’ve got to learn how to let go of guilt -- how to live with a clear conscious.
I was listening to one of these LA Cop radio shows the other day. They were talking to a call-in psychologist. Somebody called in "I’m so consumed with guilt and don’t know what to do with it. What do I do with my guilt? How do I get rid of it?" The answer of the talk show host: "You can’t. You must just learn to live with your guilt." When I heard that I wanted to say, "Give me that guy’s number. I know a better answer. A far better answer, than you. Rationalize is telling myself in my mind that it’s OK when I know in my heart it was wrong. We can rationalize all we want, It’s OK, everybody’s doing it or whatever, it was a long time ago, but in my heart I keep saying, I know it was wrong.
How do you get rid of guilt? By taking Step 4 in the Road to Recovery and the good news is that this step is the key to relief. And if you take the steps of the procedure I’m going to share with you, you’ll be able to feel Psalm 32 "What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven. What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record."
I. THE REASON FOR THIS STEP IS BECAUSE WHAT GUILT DOES TO US
1. Guilt destroys your confidence.