One of the greatest examples in the Bible of dealing with guilt is the story of King David. If you recall the story in 2 Samuel 11 the King knowingly took a married woman, Bathsheba, and slept with her. Ultimately the consequences of their sin led to her pregnancy. One problem: a question of who fathered the child would be presented since her husband was a soldier in the army of Israel and was presently out at war. Unfortunately, after other methods to cover up this transgression had failed, King David ordered the placement of the soldier to the front lines where he would be guaranteed to face death…and indeed he did. Yet, from this moral failure David became riddled with guilt. While I’ve never ordered the death of someone, I can relate to the King’s grappling with guilt.
I’ve made some pretty selfish choices in my life. I still do at times. One of the selfish choices I ever made was also driven by fear, lack of faith, and it ultimately hurt the other person involved. Christian blogger, Glynnis Whitwer once wrote that “sinful decisions can bring about a guilt-ridden condition that manifests itself in negative thinking and reduced potential.”
Indeed, my response to my sin was just like this. Sure I felt sorry, but I did not immediately try to push past the shame of my failure. Sure I asked for forgiveness, but I had a hard time believing that I deserved to be forgiven for causing such hurt. In the midst of my confession, repentance, and plea for forgiveness I lived with immense pain and regret. Some days it was hard for my mind to think of anything else, and it didn’t make it easier that the individual I attempted to seek forgiveness from flat out refused to forgive me. I even gave it some time, and I attempted on several other occasions to gain forgiveness from the individual, but no, they would not forgive. Finally, I turned to God’s word and began to pour myself deeply into Him. I learned a few things: Only God can restore; I desperately needed God to support my desire for righteous living; Jesus Christ wants me to live joyfully.
Like David, I eventually began to accept God’s forgiveness, found focuses for thanksgiving, gained strength from the scriptures and felt the chains of condemnation loose themselves.
My point is this: Don’t turn away from God in your mistakes. Don’t grapple with guilt for too long; it is a debilitating emotion that produces poisonous lies making you feel unfit for God’s kingdom. But remember who you are as a believer. We are…soldiers (2 Timothy 2:3)…more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)…friends of God (John 15:15)…His sheep (Psalm 100:3)…chosen, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12).