Summary: Our guilt eats away at us when our conscience will not let us rest.


Text: First John 1:9

Benjamin Franklin once said, " A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder, rest and guilt live far asunder". (Elanor Doan. Speaker’s Sourcebook. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, p. 68). Ivan Krylov once wrote, "Your guilt consists in this: I want to eat you up". (Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1980, p. 420). Our guilt eats away at us when our conscience will not let us rest. The Devil therefore uses guilt as one of his greatest tools of torment.

It is the Devil’s wish to torment those whom he cannot destroy (John Wesley. Sermons On Several Occasions. Volume VI. Satan’s Devices. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, p. 32). The kingdom of heaven is set up in the heart of every repentant believer wherein there is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Wesley paraphrased, p. 32). The Devil cannot stand that anyone is at peace and therefore he seeks to torment them with both the guilt and the power of sin. Why sin? The Devil uses our sin against us for evidence of making accusations against us. After all, one of the attributes of the Devil is his ability to accuse. In fact, the word Satan a.k.a. the Devil, means accuser.


As an adult, Ed was in the Air Force. He had wanted to be a pilot. But, he had what we call coke bottle glasses where the lenses are like the bottom of a coke bottle. Now, keep that in mind and see if Ed’s career in the Air Force makes sense. You see, Ed was an Air Traffic controller where people sit behind a radar screen and monitor flights.

Even as a child, Ed had poor vision. One Christmas, Ed got a sling shot for a present. His parents thought that Ed would not be able to do any harm with that sling shot. Ed’s parents figured that he was safe with a sling shot since he could not see all that well. His parents figured that he could not hit any thing due his poor vision. However, one day there was a stroke of luck as Ed aimed at his father’s prize rooster. Usually, he missed whatever he aimed at. But, this time he aimed at the rooster and hit it in the head with a rock catapulted from the sling shot while it was standing on top of a wood pile.

It was the end of Ed’s joy at that moment. Knowing that he had done wrong, he hid the dead rooster. He became a slave to guilt. Whenever there was a chore that needed to be done, his brothers (Ralph, Ben, Doug and Oscar) would always get out of their chores by blackmailing their brother Ed. Ed’s father would give one of the brothers some chore to do and they would con Ed into doing it. They would retort, “Remember the rooster Ed!” Ed eagerly jumped on the opportunity to avoid being turned in by his brothers by agreeing to do their chores over and over. But, he no longer had joy because he was exhausted.

Notice the pattern that Satan uses. After attacking our joy in the Lord, the Devil works on attacking our peace. (1) His intention is to destroy the first work of God in the soul (Wesley, p. 33). (2) After shaking us lose from our joy, he strives to attack our peace. Why? (3) If the Devil can succeed in taking away our joy and peace, then he can succeed in taking away our reason to hope. “The peace of God is another means of advancing the image of God in us” (Wesley, p. 36). (4) The Devil strives to shake the foundation of our peace in order to hinder our faith. It is by our faith in Christ we are justified. (5) Whatever weakens our faith obstructs our holiness (p. 36) which is our journey toward Christian perfection (Sanctification).

Let’s look at Ed in his slavery of guilt. Ed was fine until he killed the rooster. It is because of his guilt that Ed strives to make things right. But, he can’t bring the rooster back to life. Not only is he wrestling with the guilt of sin, but he is also wrestling with the power of sin. His joy his peace, his hope, his faith are almost non-existent. He tries to justify himself by working. His brothers take of advantage of it as they con Ed into doing their chores---“Remember the rooster Ed!” First, it was the dishes. It was one of the other brothers’ turn to do the dishes, until he said--- “Remember the rooster Ed!” Then it was the trash and again, one of the brothers said---“Remember the rooster Ed!” When it was time to gather the fire wood, you guessed it---“Remember the rooster Ed!” This kind of thing went on all that week.

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