When we’re young, we learn about the difference between right and wrong. And we also learn to feel guilty when we do something that we know falls in the “wrong” column.
Have you ever burdened yourself with guilt, tossing and turning as you try to sleep but can’t stop thinking about what you did? Perhaps you lied to a friend or exchanged unkind gossip about one family member to another.
Whatever you did that crossed the line between good and bad, it’s weighing on your conscience. What does the Bible say about guilt and when to let go?
Forgiveness is Essential
In Psalm 32, we learn that, blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Not only does God bless you with forgiveness, He knows what you did before you ever had a reason to feel guilty. He knew you were going to to it before you ever did, and forgave you. Who are you to think that your opinion of yourself and what you did is more important than God’s? Think about it… by not forgiving yourself, you’re pretty much at odds with God.
In Psalm 139:13-16, we are reminded to “praise” God for his “wonderful” works. And also are told that even before we were born, God knew of our existence.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Does feeling guilty serve any purpose?
Sometimes feeling guilty serves a purpose: It motivates us to apologize or make amends for something we did that was wrong.
But continuing to feel guilty after righting any wrongs benefits no one.
By letting go of guilt, we can spend our time helping others, as Timothy 6:18 suggests: Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
If you use your experiences, especially the uncomfortable ones, to teach, help and inspire… well, it is all worth it in the end. You’ll grow spiritually and as a person. You will find purpose… and that guilt will fade. Nothing is truly better than that.
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