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The Concept Of Gilt In The Bible

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A biblical perspective presupposes that God created man with a conscience and our conscience can and should be educated. Guilt is not a new problem. It is a result of sin or what we percieve to be sin. It is the consequences of wrong doing. It is the feeling of shame when we have done something wrong or failed to do right. It is one of the most active tools Satan uses to rob us if joy in our journey of life. What a burden to bear! What a heavy load to carry.

Unresolved guilt takes away our peace, our happiness, and our emotional stability. It was guilt that caused Adam and his wife to hide from God. It was guilt that caused David to say, “when I kept silence about my sin, my body wasted through groaning all day long'” psalm 32:3. It was guilt that caused Isaiah to cry out, “Woe is me for I am ruined! Because am a man of unclean lips. . . . ” (Isaiah 6:5).

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When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. Jn 8:7. It was guilt that caused them to drop their stones and walk away. It was guilt that caused Judas to take his own life after he betrayed Jesus. Man has struggled with guilt from the beginning and our guilt continued to haunt us and burden us and make us weary of the journey.

Recognizing kinds of guilt

The Bible teaches that there are two kinds of guilt:

  1. Objective Guilt. This is the guilt resulting from sin that we are not aware of. We are guilty when we sin whether we know it, feel it or not. Paul said he has lived all good conscience before God. Acts 23:1; yet he was a persecutor. Even though he did what he did in ignorance. 1tim 1:13, he was guilty! Sometimes we experience objective Guilt, guilt we do not feel because we sin in ignorance. most times we do not experience it because our conscience is seared.
  2. Subjective guilt. This is guilt resulting from sin that we know/feel. In this case we feel guilty for a wrong done or perceived.

Wrong ways of dealing with guilt

  1. Rationalizing it. The story is told of a man who was arrested for stealing a car parked at a burial ground. In court, he said “since the car was parked at a burial ground, I just assumed that the driver was dead”. This is just a way of justifying our guilt. A classical example is that of Saul.
  2. Denying it. The case of Cain quickly comes to mind.
  3. Running from it. Jonah presents a perfect example.
  4. Concealing it. David tried this but the book of 2kings 12:7-14; Psalm 52:1-3 tells us how it all ended.
  5. Atoning for it. Such as “attending church services more” reading the Bible more often “giving more” as a means of restoration. While all these are good, they can never take away the guilt of sin. The Bible is clear: when it comes to forgiving sin and removing guilt, all our good works are nothing but a pile of filthy rags. How do wethen get rid of the feeling of guilt?

Proper ways to rid ourselves of guilt

  1. Understand that God’s forgiveness is absolute and complete.
  2. We must learn to accept God’s forgiveness. Some, even when God has forgiven them, still carry on with guilt. This is bad. No wonder we are not enjoying the journey. Romans 8:1, Ephesians 1:7.
  3. We must stop engaging in sin. John 8:3-11. Guilt helps us to come to grips with our sins. That is why when one is past the stage where he no longer feels guilt, he joins forces with the hosts of Satan. Guilt is a tremendous burden to bear but it is a burden we don’t have to bear. We can get rid of it.

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