I’m guilty – I’ve blown it – what do I do now?
We have all been there. We have tried and failed to resist some strong temptation and are now overwhelmed with all-consuming feelings of guilt. We repeat like a broken record over and over in our minds: “How could I have been so stupid to commit that sin!” We feel defeated, we feel like we have let God down again and we may even feel like we just want to give up, as the Christian life just seems too hard.
As a result of our failure, guilt begins to take a vicelike grip on our souls, and if we are not careful our souls can shrivel up before we know it.
This is all because we have a conscience which has a natural in-built guilt response to sinful behaviour. As a Christian these feelings put distance between us and God and can be one of the biggest hindrances to our fellowship with the Lord. This gnawing sense of guilt – if not dealt with quickly – can be one of the most destructive things to our spiritual vitality.
Sadly many Christian consciences are racked with guilt because they simply don’t know what to do when they have sinned. So briefly I want to look at two things you can remember the next time you experience guilt, and hopefully they may save you some headache along the way. However, I warn you these are not meant to be used as a psychological ploy to get ‘the guilt off one’s chest’ but are part of God’s divine plan to remove these uncomfortable feelings.
First, confess your sin (1 John 1:9). By confess I don’t mean merely saying you’re sorry, but rather pointing out the facts to your offense. They are not superficial generalisations, but, specific concrete facts that agree with God about your sin. It may mean saying: “God I lusted after that woman who walked into church this morning, will you forgive me?” Thankfully God’s Word says that as a result of such a confession God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
Second, remember you have an advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 2:2). An advocate in our language means defence lawyer. It is one who acts on behalf of another and stands in a court and presents the case of someone else for their benefit. However, Jesus Christ, is a very unique advocate as He is not only our defender, but also, our Saviour, and it is on that basis alone that he has a strong case before His father – the Judge. Therefore, when you sin, you can appeal to your advocate – the Lord Jesus Christ – with confidence as his blood has been shed for the very sins you are guilty of.
So next time you feel consumed with guilt, don’t hesitate, don’t delay, confess your sins and remember your advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Steven Kilner is married to Jodie and has three sons, they have an eight-year-old, a six-year-old and a three-year-old. They attend Canterbury Gardens Community Church. Steven is studying theology at PTC and Jodie is undertaking a diploma in Nursing.