Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Can You Rid Yourself of Guilt?

Matthew 5:23, 24
Consider several key steps required to be free from guilt, all under the banner of forgiveness.
  1. Admit to the sin that created your guilt. Repent of your sin to God. If you have sinned against another person, confess to that person. Also, in facing your sin, make certain that it is a sin before God. The "sin" you think you have committed may have been merely a mistake or error or someone else's sin. On the other hand, remember that our society is quick to accept some sinful behaviors as normal. The Bible presents very clear picture of what is sin and isn't. If you have any doubt about whether you have sinned, consult the Scriptures. When you confess to God or a person that you have sinned, don't try to justify what you did. Simply state your sin or error. Then ask God or that person to forgive you.
  2. Make amends. If you have wronged another person, don't try to substitute a request for forgiveness by doing kind deeds for that person. This same principle holds for your relationship with God-don't try to substitute works for genuine forgiveness.
    In seeking to make amends for a wrong committed against another person, you may be wise to ask the person what he or she would consider fair payment for the hurt or injury, or you may want to offer satisfaction of some type. The best repayment may be a genuine change in your life (which may involve counseling or professional help or therapy.)
    Ask God to give you wisdom in identifying appropriate amends. Also ask Him to give you the courage and the fortitude to follow through on your commitment to the offended person.
  3. Accept forgiveness. If you have sinned against God and have repented, you can be assured that He has forgiven you. His Word promises that He will pardon you-and God always keeps His Word. If you have sinned against another person and he forgives you, accept his words of forgiveness at face value. Don't try to second-guess his sincerity or motives.
    What happens if you confess a sin against another person and the person refuses to forgive you? That person bears the responsibility for failing to forgive; you don't. You have done what the Lord requires of you, and you stand clear before the Lord.