Guilt is one of the heaviest burdens that any of us have to bear. We all know what it is like to feel guilty. We have all had those times when we have said or done things to hurt others. We all know what it is like to feel guilty about something we didn’t do or what it’s like to lose our temper and strike out in anger over something petty and small. We all know what it is like at times to be driven by our own selfish desires without any thought of how others will be affected. We all know what it’s like when we’ve promised to do something and then we don’t see it through. But, we don’t have to carry the burden of guilt! In fact, God wants us to let it go! Here’s three things God wants us to do in order to let go of guilt.
#1 Accept responsibility
We live in a time when people find it very hard to admit their wrongs. We don’t like to confess our sins and we don’t like to accept responsibility when things go bad. When we do something wrong and we get hurt or we hurt someone else or something bad happens, our first response is- it’s not my fault, I didn’t do it! We are plagued by litigation as no one wants to accept responsibility. We have to be willing to accept responsibility when we make mistakes.
#2 Confessing our sins
While I agree theologically with the idea that we are able to confess our sins directly to God instead of going through a priest; I do feel that the Protestant Church lost something important when Martin Luther suggested doing away with the confessional booth. It’s very easy for us to rationalize what we’ve done, to make excuses for what we’ve done. We don’t want to think about the sins we’ve committed, so we don’t’ go to God and confess. Yes, you can go directly to God, but do we? When was the last time we really looked honestly at our lives and said, “Oh, God I have sinned, have mercy upon me?”
#3 Receive God’s grace
When we are willing to accept responsibility and confess our sins to God, we experience the gift of grace. In Psalms 51:10, David wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” If you’ve ever experienced the joy of forgiveness, you know what it means to feel like you can start anew. It doesn’t mean there are no consequences to our sin, of course there are. David had consequences, we have consequences. The promise of God is that He will help you deal with the consequences of your sin and you can be forgiven and have a new start.
You can have a pure heart, a new and right spirit within you when you are willing to be honest with yourself, accept responsibility and confess your sins. We all get a chance to start anew and let it go!