Guilt, What Do We Do With It?
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Thomas Aquinas, a philosopher and theologian, described the human conscience as the inner voice that either accuses or excuses us for our behavior. If we are to be wise in following our conscience, we must first make sure our conscience is guided by the Word of God. The conscience can be seared and become immune to God’s Word if we try to rationalize or deny our sin. We may even try to convince ourselves that some sinful behavior is really very logical according to today’s standards.
Self justification may work for a while but the Word of God tells us that His Law holds every human being accountable for their own sin (Romans 3:19). People don’t understand that the debt owed to God for sin is so vast no one can ever repay it. If we can’t logically suppress our guilt or justify it away, what do we do? We must acknowledge that the Laws of God are still valid. Sexual immorality is still wrong even though man says, “We need to find out if we are compatible sexually before we make a commitment.” Lying is wrong before a Holy God and murder is still sin. His Word is clear about right and wrong behavior. Our modern secular community is not the guideline by which we are to pattern our lives.
The power of forgiveness releases us from the shame that has paralyzed us in unresolved guilt. That power is the Gospel. When a person sins, they incur guilt but when a person has been forgiven, they are cleansed and renewed. God has promised that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). We can’t trust our feelings to tell us we are forgiven but we can have confidence in God’s Word which emphatically states we are.
Lord, I know I’m forgiven no matter how I feel.