Summary: Many people suffer from an overactive conscience. They sin, they repent and receive forgiveness but still carry the weight of the guilt with them. All of this has already been paid for by the blood of Jesus.
FACING YOUR GIANTS
“Unloading our Guilt”
The story is told of the famous playwright Noel Coward who as a prank sent an anonymous letter to 10 different men in London. He sent the same letter to each one that read like this... We know what you have done. If you don’t want to be exposed, leave town. Within six months, all 10 men moved out of town.
A terrible prank, but it shows the incredible power of guilt had affects all of us. The song was written by David. David was a Shepherd boy who eventually became King of Israel. The Bible describes it was a man after God’s own heart. But like you and me, David wasn’t perfect and so guilt came to pay a visit with him. When someone comes to our home there are those who ring the doorbell and wait patiently for us to answer, they are those who knock. And wait very long and then they quickly walk away; perhaps it’s a salesperson. But there are also those who do neither-they just walk right in, unannounced with no warning because they come to visit so often is almost as though they have a key. That is how guilt is for many of us. Guilt comes barging in, never asks for permission and often camps out way too long.
Most of you know the story. David sees a woman named Bathsheba-he likes what he sees and so he has a servant go and bring her to his palace. He and Bathsheba commit adultery and not long after that David learns that Bathsheba is with child. So he tries to cover it up. He tries to enlist the help of a man named Uriah but he refuses so David sends Uriah into battle and when the battle is raging, he instructs those on the front lines with him to turn back and leave him there alone. And Uriah is killed.
One year goes by and God sends the prophet Nathan to confront King David. And you can hear the anguish of David as he falls to his face and cries out- “I have sinned.” There is an explanation for this guilt that David experiences and it is found here in the first verse. It is disobedience. V. 1. God has given us the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. He has given us what we call a conscience. So if we sin, our conscience reminds us that we have done something wrong and it causes us to feel remorse. The Bible also tells us it is possible that if we continue to commit the same sin over and over and over that many times we no longer feel guilty. Paul talks about those who have had their conscience seared as with a hot iron. 1st Timothy 4:2. And we’re no longer sensitive to the fact that we have sinned.
But many of us don’t have that particular problem; in fact our problem is quite the opposite. We acknowledge our sin; we pray for forgiveness but we still carry guilt. We take it with us everywhere we go. The last thing we have in this is this joy he mentions in v. 1.
Here is a truth for you and I to remember. Guilt is a condition, not a feeling. Satan likes to play with our feelings. He is the great accuser. We sin. We feel guilty. We asked for forgiveness. God takes away our guilt. We still feel guilty.
One of the effects of guilt is that many of us allow the feeling of guilt to remain even though the condition of guilt is completely gone.
Guilt can destroy our confidence. Guilt makes us insecure because we’re afraid we’re going to be found out. Police officers will tell you that some of the biggest arrests they make are made after stopping someone for a simple traffic violation. They stop someone or attempt to but the driver runs because he is afraid that they know about a much bigger crime.
Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked man flees though no one pursues.” How would you respond if you received a note like Noel Coward sent out? Would you have moved? You say no, not me. I wouldn’t feel intimidated. Really? Think about the last time you looked in the rearview mirror and you saw flashing lights-didn’t your heart speed up for a moment??? Guilt can destroy our confidence.
Guilt can destroy our relationship with Christ. The most precious relationship that is hurt when we sin and do not confess is our relationship with God. David carried his sin around for over a year without confessing it. He says “when I refused to confess my sins, I was weak and miserable.” He may have looked fine on the outside but inside he was being eaten alive by his guilt. Adultery and murder. David says in verse 4, “day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.” When you labor under unconfessed sin, your relationship with Christ will suffer. You may think you can hide your sin from God but David recognized and would later write these words: Psalm 139:1-4. You cannot hide your sin from God.