Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

1/29/2017A.M.

 

Guilt Free Living

Psalm51.1-17

 

Guilt...What a burden!!

Guilt has the ability to ruin life unless it is dealt with in a Biblical manner.

Guilt...We all have it... We all need to learn how to deal with it.

 

A psychology class from Harding University toured the state mental hospital in Little Rock. There... they met a man who had deliberately stuck both of his hands into a band saw. His behavior was all the more incredible because until that time…

• He had seemed to be a happy… well-adjusted person...

• With a good job… A loving family…

• And a bright future. 

 

However...During World War II... His troop ship was torpedoed and he spent several hours in the sea desperately clinging to a piece of wreckage waiting to be rescued. During that event… One of his buddies tried to grab hold of the same piece of wreckage. Fearing it would not hold both of them… He had pushed the other man away… And watched as his buddy drowns. No one else witnessed the incident… No one ever suspected it happened… But the man was unable to escape his sense of Guilt. He never discussed it… For years he tried to cope… Until one day he cut off the offending hands in a desperate attempt to deal with his guilt.

 

Guilt is not something new… It’s been around since the beginning… It has always caused... Men and women... Young people... To do some strange and bizarre things...

 

• For instance... Guilt caused Adam and Eve to hide from God in the Garden of Eden.

• Guilt caused Cain to kill his brother when their father died in Egypt.

• Guilt caused Isaiah to cry out... Woe is me for I am a man with unclean lips.

• When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery... Jesus said... If anyone is without sin... Let him cast the first stone. Guilt that caused them to walk away.

• It was guilt that caused Judas to take his own life after betraying Jesus.

• Guilt prompted Stephen’s stoning.

• Guilt caused Saul to change his life and become the man we know as Paul.

 

So… You see… Guilt can have its place…

 

• Used correctly… It has a positive effect in our lives… Handled correctly... It allows an intimate relationship with God and His people.

 

Abused… And it burdens our heart beyond belief… Causing us to do some... Strange... Harmful...Hurtful... Things.

 

Three thousand years ago… David committed adultery with another man’s wife… After lying to cover up what he had done didn’t work… He arranged for her husband to be killed. This behavior left David devastated by guilt... Remorse and shame ruined his life.

 

Here in the fifty-first Psalm… David confesses his guilt and we hear him try to explain what guilt was doing to him... mentally… Emotionally… and physically.

• I know my transgression…I can’t forget it... My sin is always before me.

• My guilt is so intense, so consuming, overwhelming; it seems I was conceived... born in it.

• When I kept silent... My bones wasted away.

• My joy of living is gone.

• I feel that God is no longer present in my life.

• I feel He has withdrawn His salvation from me.

• I feel that my worship is sacrilege and hypercritical

 

So… David pleads with God to forgive him and take away his guilt…

• Cleanse me…

• Wash me…

• Make me clean…

• Blot out all my iniquity…

• Blot out my blood guiltiness…

• Give me back my pure heart…

• Restore the joy of my salvation…

• Make my worship to you meaningful to me again.

 

Indeed!!!...David's agonized prayer illustrates how… Dealing with guilt is a crucial issue in our life!

 

Ever been there?… Perhaps some of us are there with David… even today… Right now!!

 

Let’s begin with a definition... Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation.

 

Guilt is a result of sin... Or what we perceive to be sin.

 

Guilt is the feeling of shame & Remorse when we’ve done something wrong... Or failed to do right.

 

I believe the Bible to teach that there are two kinds of guilt...

• Objective Guilt... Theological Guilt...

• And subjective guilt... Guilt that is felt.

 

First... Objective guilt.

When we sin... We are guilty whether or not we know it... Or feel it!

 

Paul opposed Jesus... He persecuted those who believed in Jesus... And yet he said... I have lived in all good conscience before God.

 

Even though he did what he did in ignorance... He was still guilty...Even though he felt no guilt or shame.

 

So... Sometimes we experience objective guilt...  Guilt that we do not feel...Because we sin... And do not know that the attitude or behavior was sin.

 

This kind of guilt can also become a reality... Not only because of ignorance... But because our conscience has been... calloused... Seared... To the point that sin no longer results in Guilt.

 

Then There is subjective guilt.

Subjective guilt is a result of feeling guilty...

• Either because we are guilty...

• Or because we perceive that we are.

 

So... you see... Guilt is a consequence of wrong doing... Whether we feel it or not. And both objective... And subjectiveGuilt… Must be properly dealt with.

 

Notice with me some wrong ways we try to deal with guilt...

 

Sometimes we RATIONALIZE our sin guilt.

Saul was instructed by Samuel... To destroy all the Amelekites along with all of their property. Instead he decides to bring King Agag and a good portion of his possessions back to Israel. So... When Saul was confronted by the Prophet Samuel…He rationalized his behavior by saying... Well…I brought all this home so that the people could witness the killing of the king and we’ll offer these sheep and livestock in worship to God.

Then Samuel said... Saul... Obedience is more pleasing to God than sacrifice.

 

Trying to rationalize and excuse our behavior is not a proper way of trying to get rid of our guilt.

 

Sometimes we try to deny our guilt.

This was the sin of Cain... Why blame me… I’m not my brother’s keeper.

• Denial of the sin...

• Denial that the act was a sin...

• Or denial of the feelings of guilt...

All add up to the same lie... And does nothing to remove our guilt.

 

Some try to run from their guilt.

Nowhere do we see this anymore than in the life of Jonah... But when the storm came…Jonah admitted his sin. Jonah was still carrying his guilt even though he was along way from where his initial sin was committed.

 

In our culture...Drugs and alcohol are frequently used to try to escape our feeling of guilt.

It can’t be done...

• Judas ended up on the end of a rope.

• Jonah ended up in the belly of a fish.

• Peter ended up in tears and remorse.

• Simon the Sorcerer was in the gall of bitterness... As a result of his guilt.

Guilt is a heart issue... It follows us wherever we go.

 

Some try to conceal their guilt from God and others.

David attempted to hide his adultery with Bathsheba by bringing her husband home from the front lines... So he would sleep with her. When he refused to go home to his wife...David had him killed. And sure enough nobody knew the sin except God and David!

 

David is absolute proof that we cannot hidE our guilt in our own heart... Without some ugly... Harmful...Even soul damning... consequences.

 

Others think they can atone for their guilt.

I spend a good amount of my time counseling with people who think like this...

• I’ll work harder down at church...

• I’ll be a better person...

• I’ll read my Bible more... Pray more... Give more...

• I’ll tell the Elders that I’ll take on some ministry.

 

Listen to me… Self-righteousness...Personal good works... Individual Piety... Can never... Never...Never... Forgive... Any sin!!... Not a single one!!

 

Scripture tells us that when it comes to... forgiving sin.... And removing guilt...All our good works are nothing but a pile of filthy rags in God’s sight.

 

What do these so-called solutions to guilt have in common?

Most significantly...They don’t work.  Some of us know firsthand that what I am saying is true... Because we’ve tried it... RIGHT?

 

OK... As CHILDREN OF GOD... How can we get rid of our guilt?

 

We must be willing to acknowledge our sins... Take ownership of our guilt

1 John 1.9 says… If we confess our sins... Acknowledge our sins... Own up to our own attitude and behavior... God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

Sins are forgiven in confession... In acknowledgment.

Like David...

• We must come to God with a broken contrite heart...

• We must come to Him in genuine sorrow for our behavior...

• With a heart set on repentance.

 

No... You are not hearing me say that we must name every sin to be forgiven of it.

Remember objective guilt... Theological guilt?... That sin we are guilty of and don’t know it?...They need to be forgiven also... And they are when we... In humility... Acknowledge our sinful nature before God.

 

• Like David… We must with Broken Contrite Heart be willing to say…Cleanse me… Wash me… Blot out all my iniquity…

 

• Like Isaiah... We must be willing to admit our sinfulness... Wow is me... I am a sinful person.

 

• Like Paul... “O wretched man that I am.”

 

When Jesus died on the cross... He didn’t just die for the sins we committed before our conversion...Before our baptism… He also died for all the sins we commit after conversion.

• He not only forgives what we were.

• He keeps forgiving what we ARE... AMen?

 

John tells us... If we walk in the light… As He is in the light… We have fellowship with one another… And the blood of Jesus… His Son…Cleanses us… Purifies us from all sin.

 

John is saying... That if we are living faithful lives... Then all of our sins… Known & unknown… Are being forgiven through the blood of Jesus... Both our OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE guilt is CONTINUALLY removed.

 

Then two verses later he tells us that confession is a part of walking in the light.

 

Secondly... We need to accept the fact that Perfection doesn’t exist in anyone.

Nobody is perfect... Not our friends... Family members... Not other church folk... Not the preacher... Nor the Elders... There is none righteous... For all have sinned and fallen short of His glory.

 

Jesus didn’t come into the world to enable us to live a perfect life... But To forgive our sins... To remove our guilt.

 

• Jesus came that... We might have life and have it more abundantly... Life above the ordinary...

Life at its best... Because we can be forgiven... LiFe without Guilt.

 

In Him we have redemption through His blood... The forgiveness of sins…In accordance with the riches of God’s grace…

 

• When we were dead in our sins… God made us alive with Christ... He forgave all our sins

 

• Therefore... There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

 

• While we were still sinners... Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood... How much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!

 

• Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

• My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

 

• The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

Come now... Let us reason together... Says the LORD...Though your sins are like scarlet... They shall be as white as snow... Though they are red as crimson... They shall be like wool.

 

These verses contain the good-news of the Gospel message... That because of our imperfection...Forgiveness and salvation are possible through Jesus.

 

Thirdly... We must learn to accept God’s Forgiveness.

Although we know intellectually that our sin has been forgiven... Emotionally... Some of us never let go of our guilt.

 

Some of us… Including your preacher… Have done some... terrible... Ugly... Hurtful... Harmful... Things... But when we’re forgiven... It’s as if it never happened.

 

accept... Believe in... And trustLive In... Enjoy!... God’s forgiveness.

 

You see... UNRESOLVED GUILT IS really a sign of a LACK OF FAITH IN GOD’S PROMISE to forgive!!

 

Then finally... We must stop the sin.

The adulterous woman was told... Go enjoy life... Go sin nomore.

 

I believe that a part of walking in the light is trying our best to forsake that sin that so easily besets us.

 

One of the many benefits we enjoy from the Holy Spirit is that He convicts us of sin. Jesus said… When the Spirit comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin... Righteousness... And judgment to come.

 

When we sin... The Holy Spirit tells us about it... By pricking our hearts... By Sending us guilt.  So... We understand that GUILT CAN BE GOOD!!

 

Guilt is Good... Because it is designed to help us come to grip with our sins... Giving us the opportunity to acknowledge them... Deal with the resulting Guilt in a Biblical manner.

 

This morning… If you are not a Christian… A child of God… Your sins can be forgiven in the act of conversion by... Faith… Repentance… and Baptism…

 

• Peter told those on Pentecost who had crucified Jesus to repent and be baptized… And they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of their sins.

 

• Saul was told after his faith and repentance… to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins.

 

If we… As Christians…Have sins that need to be acknowledged to God… Or to others… Do it today!!!…This morning!!… Right now!

 

Come enjoy Living guilt free... As we stand and sing together.