Because we cannot help but sin and do harm to God, to others, and to ourselves we must traffic in the currency of guilt and forgiveness. I confess, I have been around people who are almost incapable of admitting they are wrong. I know people for whom it is almost impossible for them to simply say, “I am sorry.” On the other hand, I know people who, God forbid, you do sin against because they will remind you of it for the next 20 years. I have been around people who catalog every offense and injury and refuse to grant absolution even when you are in sack cloth and ashes. I don’t know about you but I try to avoid people like this. I am simply not good enough!
Guilt is a “merciful pain in the heart.” Merciful – because guilt works on the heart like pain does on the body. We need pain to alert us that if we keep using that skill saw on our finger it will be removed. Pain is elemental, it reacts and with good reason, it mercifully protects our bodies from further and future harm. Guilt works like this on our hearts. Guilt is the warning system that alerts us that we have broken God’s law or are bringing harm to a relationship that is close to us. Guilt is the thing that makes us feel awful until we deal with it.
The Bible has a lot to say about guilt and well it should, we stand as a people condemned. We were born sinners who are guilty and need a savior. Thankfully we know what to do with our guilt as we look at Psalm 51 and see what a man who committed adultery and killed a good friend did when his guilt almost crushed him. Also, we only have to go to the cross to see what it will cost us when people sinned greatly against us and they seek our forgiveness.
We are going to talk about guilt and forgiveness this Sunday. I hope to see you there!