Monday, August 22, 2011

Why it's Okay to Release Your Guilt

South Africa
by: Lisa at The Warming House
Mountain View Mondays - Stealing your Breath with Exquisite Views of God's Heart, His Character, and His Ways

Have you done anything you regret? Are there times when you wish you could turn back the clock and have a do-over? Do you agonize over things in your past - people you've hurt, poor choices you made, paths you followed, temptations you gave in to?

Base of Victoria Fallls by Lisa @ The Warming House

If you have a Bible, open it and read Psalm 51. This is an incredible prayer from the heart of King David. Hear his consuming regret and remorse.
As you read, remember this is the David who:

Courageously killed Goliath with a single stone . . .
Was mercilessly hunted by King Saul . . .
         Lived as a lonely, persecuted outcast in caves . . .
        Was appointed as king over Israel . . .
        Was the man God referred to as a “man
        after his own heart” . . .
         Was not immune to sin . . .

David was a noble king, but he wasn't perfect. Uriah the Hittite was the greatest smudge on David’s character.  David betrayed Uriah by committing adultery with his wife. To make matters worse, David then had Uriah murdered so he could take Bathsheba as his own.  David lived for 9 months with no expression of remorse or sorrow.  He ran from God and tried to hide his awful mistakes.  As he distanced himself from God, there was naturally a break in their relationship. 

This break in relationship grieved God’s heart. Because David did not go to God to admit what he'd done, God went to David.  In 2 Samuel 12, God sent Nathan the prophet to pursue David and confront him about his wrongdoings.  God did not pursue David in order to destroy him.  There was another reason.  He pursued David in order to restore their relationship.

David’s heart was crushed as he listened to what Nathan had to say. Psalm 51 is his response. He finally went before God and the Jewish people in a public prayer of confession. The depth of his agony can be seen in verse 3. “For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”  David’s guilt and shame consumed him every moment of every day. Is this something you can relate to?

Guilt can be beneficial because it carries with it an awareness of sin and deep feelings of remorse.  Guilt convicts us of the need to go to God, confess our sins, ask for His forgiveness, and pursue his mercy.   Verse 17 tells us that God desires a broken spirit, and a broken and contrite (crushed) heart.  Without feelings of guilt – or Godly sorrow, true repentance is absolutely impossible.

Is your spirit broken right now?  What is causing these feelings?  Like David, God may be pursuing you.  Is there something you need to resolve with Him? Know that he is safe. He wants to restore you not destroy you. And he is merciful. Why do you think He waited nine months for David to repent?  Think about that for a minute.  God could have punished David immediately; instead He gave him nine months to come clean! 

Jesus is the greatest proof that God wants to show us mercy.  Because of His great love for us, God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to take the punishment for our sins so that our relationship with Him could be restored.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9

If you read Psalm 51 closely, you will see David’s heartfelt belief that God is good and merciful.  He truly believes God has the desire and ability to make him clean again.  “Cleanse me . . . and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Create in me a pure heart, O God.”

For some of us, it's difficult to have the same belief that David had. We feel our mistakes are so big and horrific that we can't wrap our minds around the immensity of a perfect love (God's love) that gives complete and total forgiveness. We know we don't deserve to be let off the hook completely, so we step in and punish ourselves with guilt to make things right. Truth is - we don't deserve to be let off the hook, but that's what makes God so absolutely wonderful!

Robbin Island; South Africa by Lisa @ The Warming House

Please get this: Once you’ve confessed your sins, don’t hang onto guilt in an effort to punish yourself or pay the price for your sins, for it is by grace you have been saved. Jesus has taken ALL the punishment bearing God's wrath for ALL of your sins - every last one. He has paid the price in FULL.  Amount due: $0.00! You are free!

Are feelings of guilt holding you prisoner? Dear friend, let it go. This is not what God wants for you.

Your past does not bind you! Your past does not define you!
God is giving you a fresh start today.  He wants to restore you to joy and put a new song in your heart! So what do you need to let go of today?

Coastal Waters; South Africa by Lisa @ The Warming House

As ever - Enjoying the View!

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