Summary: You can be free from the guilt of your past actions.
There is a silence in the room and a lean, bold gentleman stands up and bellows, "All Rise. " The people in the room stand as a strong , stately man dressed in a black robe enters the room and instructs: "Be seated." He reviews some papers in front of him and looks toward you with a pointed stare. Turning to the stoically dressed man who is standing beside you he asks, "How does your client plead?" "Not guilty" is the reply.
Moments pass as the judge ruffles through the papers in front of him. At last he looks at you, encourages you to stand, and with a thundering voice he proclaims: "Guilty!" The room grows even more silent and the harrowing sound of the words from this man ricochet in your mind. "Guilty"— "Guilty"—Guilty." Finally, you come face to face with yourself and you admit, "I did it."
Now all that remains is the payment, the sentencing for your crime. You begin to wonder, Will it be the minimum or the extreme? You wait with fearful anticipation. As the judge begins to speak, you scratch your head in disbelief. Could it be true? Did the Judge say, "Sentence paid in full"? You walk out of the room and ask to be handcuffed and taken to jail.
I know what you are thinking at this point: Why would this man or anyone desire to be incarcerated after he/she has been set free? But I say to you, why would you continue to walk in the bondage of guilt once you have repented and been set free by God?
We are all familiar with the Prodigal Son and his desire to have what he thought was his. There are numerous sermons concerning the plight of this young man and his subsequent reconciliation with his father. However, I believe the turning point of the prodigal son’s life started when he first admitted his wrong and began to head back home as a free man:
"But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants" (Luke 15:17-19).
Notice that he wasn’t walking in arrogance or pride but rather faith in God. His father, symbolic of our loving God, saw no need for punishment. With the lad’s repentance, the chains of sin and guilt were broken and he could go boldly in the liberty of forgiveness.
Deliverance and healing from guilt begins when you repent and begin to walk in the freedom of that repentance. The enemy desires us to live in the shadows of our guilt even after we have been forgiven by the Almighty God. However, guilt is only what you feel about the committed the offense; it does not make you the offense (sin).
To explain this further, let’s take a look at another "Prodigal Son" in Genesis 3: 10-12: "So [Adam] said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And [God] said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’ Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate’ ."