How to Deal with Guilt
Guilt: That rottenness inside that slowly eats away at your core. That feeling that you know you did something wrong and have not confessed it.
Maybe you hurt someone, maybe you lied or cheated. Maybe you stole something or did something you feel is unforgiveable. Guilt can do more than simply rot your insides; it can cause minor and major health issues, restructure your life or cause someone else immense pain. Guilt is usually not a sin against ourselves but to ourselves and others.
Living With Hidden Guilt
For 8 years I hid guilt. I thought I got away with something….and I had. I cheated. I broke my sacred marriage vows. Even though I forgave myself and thought I had moved on, that guilt still resided somewhere in me because I never confessed my sin to the one person I hurt. I figured, if he didn’t know now, he never will know and I can just go on about my life. If no one knows, all is okay.
“No one knows... maybe it really wasn’t that bad.”
I pushed it under the rug, went on with my life and figured if I tried to forget about it, it never really happened. I tried to minimize it by saying, “No one knows. Therefore, maybe it really wasn’t that bad.” I tried to forget it thinking the farther in time I am away from it, the better it would get.
There was one person that knew and wouldn’t let me forget. The one person in the world that knew exactly what I was going through and knew the only way out was to confess and be forgiven: God.
But then more guilt set in. I thought I had forgiven myself but who else would? If someone really knew what I had done, they would never forgive me. I would be “that girl,” the one with the scarlet letter. I felt my sin would radiate from me and be a beacon of tortured and sinful behavior for the entire world to see. I tried to run, tried to make up for it without actually confessing it, tried to be beyond good… but nothing was good enough. I needed to confess.
The Bible says,
“confess your sins one to another so you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
I had confessed my sins to God. I knew He knew my sin but for some reason that wasn’t enough. I needed to confess to the one I hurt. I needed to confess to my spouse. That was a rough day.
Sometimes when you confess, things don’t go perfectly. In the long run, you have to come to the realization that being honest is better than hiding. It’s better to come clean than to slowly rot from the inside out.
Maybe you haven’t done something as big as infidelity; maybe you have done something worse. It doesn’t matter. To God, sin is sin – guilt is guilt and until you rid yourself of that guilt, God cannot begin to repair you or those you have hurt.
It hurt to tell the truth. It broke me to confess unfaithfulness to my spouse. It took a long time to heal, but heal we did. Healing is still taking place.
“The more you let God heal the brokenness... the better life will be...”
Something I have learned is that the more you let God heal the brokenness, the unforgiveness and the guilt, the better life will be on the other side. It may not be instant. It may take time but its worth the relief, the forgiveness and the peace you feel.
Don’t let guilt wreak havoc on your body, mind and soul. Confess to one another TO BE HEALED. God can provide that complete healing. You don’t have to live with the guilt, no matter how long it has been or how deeply you’ve sinned.
No one is exempt from guilt. But we can rejoice! When we turn our lives to Christ and accept His perfect forgiveness He says there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If you want to experience a guilt-free life; if you want to finally be rid of the shame and condemnation that has rotted your soul, you can choose to move on and be set free by choosing a life with Jesus.
Choosing this life does not mean we are free to sin, but are finally free from our sin. Guilt will not hold us back; it will not rot our bones or torment our spirits. We can be free from guilt and shame and walk blameless before our God. You can have this kind of freedom. Simply seek forgiveness from those whom you have hurt.
Pray this prayer with me:
Jesus, I am a sinner. I have done wrong in Your sight and others. Please forgive me and give me the courage to confess my sins and wrong-doings to one another. I need Your forgiveness and compassion. I repent of my sins and want to live a life that is pleasing to you and one that brings health to my soul and my life. Forgive me and come into my heart. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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