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Sunday, January 28, 2018 pm                                              Problems Index

PROBLEMS CHRISTIANS FACE
Dealing with Guilt (2)

     Last week we began a study of the subject of guilt.   We noted that guilt is 1) the fact that one has committed an offense or wrong and/or 2) the feeling of remorse or responsibility for something, whether you did it or not.  In identifying guilt we noted that we are all guilty when we stand before God. 

But there is also a sense of “false guilt” in which one is made to feel guilty, even though he honestly is not – examples of this would be children in a divorce thinking they are the cause; false standards, being falsely accused of something, made to feel guilty by manipulators, survivor’s guilt, death of a loved one (I should have done more), victims of assault, etc. 

We also noted that far too many turn to the wrong sources for answers to their guilt and seek to have it explained away.  Yet the Bible deals with the subject of guilt.  Wherever there is sin, there is guilt.  We even noted the guilt of the first sins and consequent sins.  We talked about how God views guilt – He does not ignore or excuse it.  Finally, we talked about being convicted – (i.e. pronounced guilty) and how many in scripture were convicted.

Tonight we want to notice how to deal with guilt.

 I.                     Dealing with guilt

a.       HONESTLY determine what is the source of your guilt.  Do you feel guilty or are you guilty? 
Honesty demands that you NEVER blame someone else for your own sins.  Even if others were partakers or instigators, you have to answer for yourself.   Ezekiel 18:4, 20.
(NOTE: Not guilty in one area does not excuse you in others).
And in this, make sure you don’t categorize REAL guilt as “false guilt”!

b.       Realize that guilt can be a good thing

                                                   i.      God has given us a conscience.  When it works it can drive us to where we need to be.
Romans 2:14-16 – Gentiles, who show the work written in their hearts – their conscience bears witness
David’s sorrow for his sin – Psalm 51:1-4 David realizes his guilt against God.
Psalm 6:6 – David was in tears all night as he pleads for mercy

                                                 ii.      2 Corinthians 7:10 – Godly sorrow produces repentance

                                                iii.      Acts 2:37-38 – they were cut to the heart and responded

                                                iv.      1 Timothy 4:2 warns of a damaged conscience, seared with a hot iron.   Far too many today damage their conscience rather than dealing with it properly.

c.        Realize that God has made provisions for your guilt.
 John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8, etc.  The death of Jesus was because we are guilty!   1 Peter 2:24 says He bore our sins in His own body.  2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be in for us, that we might become the righteousness of God to Him.
He has provided a way for us as Christians to be forgiven – 1 John 1:7-9, 2:1-2, Acts 8:22-23, etc.
We may not fully understand the spiritual process of how Jesus paid that price, but we can know that God through Jesus has made a way for all of our guilt to be forgiven. 

d.       Deal with the cause of your guilt

                                                   i.      REPENT! Acts 8:22. If you have sin in your life, you need to deal with it.
Consider 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 – notice how true repentance can clear up your guilt.  But it must be TRUE and complete repentance!

                                                 ii.      Accept the consequences of your guilt.  Quit making excuses for bad behavior! 
Change what you can, but move forward in matters you cannot change.

e.       Accept God’s forgiveness - IF you have done what you should do, learn to accept it. 

                                                   i.      This is a part of genuine faith.  James 1:6 – ask in faith; Hebrews 10:23, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

                                                 ii.      A part of that is also being willing to accept that your past is past, and you cannot change it.  Consider the example of Paul who though he was guilty accepted God’s forgiveness.  He said in 1 Timothy 1:13 – he obtained mercy.  1 Corinthians 15:10, “by the grace of God I am what I am”; Philippians 3:13-14 – forgetting what is behind, I press on!

                                                iii.      Finally, in this be willing to forgive yourself.  This is sometimes VERY hard to do. 

f.         Don’t seek advice from those who want to ignore your guilt before God.
If you are struggling, turn to those who have your spiritual welfare in mind – cf. James 5:14-16.  If you want to talk with a “professional”, please find one who will not seek to dismiss your faith!

g.       What about “false guilt”?

                                                   i.      Again, study God’s word.  You learn many things such as guilt belongs with the sinner –
1) Ezekiel 18:20 – the soul who sins shall die;
2) Blaming others will not resolve your problems
3) 1 Corinthians 10:13 – there is a way of escape
4) The need and challenge of forgiveness, both yourself and others!

                                                 ii.      Matthew 11:28-30 – come to Jesus for rest and consolation.  1 Peter 5:6-7 – case your cares on God for He cares for you.

                                                iii.      Work on not worrying about things you have NO control over.  An element about all “false guilt” is that it is something you have no control over.  Matthew 6:25-34.

                                                iv.      Build up your faith – as you learn to trust Him more, it can help you better deal with such struggles.

                                                  v.      Again, seek help from your brethren to pray with you and for you.   And if needed, help from godly professionals who will respect the boundaries of scripture.

 

Guilt, like many other things is something we may struggle with.  But, as with so many other things, the Bible gives us direction to help deal with it.  That is what makes the Christian different from the world.  Let us resolve that even in this we will trust in God. 

Finally, never forget that you are guilty before God.  But he has provided the way to take care of that guilt.  Have you done what He said?  Have you accepted His forgiveness? Think about it!