You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you. Proverbs 28:13 (GNT)

One time while camping in the north woods of Minnesota we saw an interesting phenomenon. When we retired for the night we’d unknowingly left a jar of peanuts open and on a table. In the early morning hours a chipmunk happened to come along and seeing an opportunity, climbed into the jar and filled his cheeks with delicious peanuts. Unfortunately, the mouth of the jar was just large enough for him to get in, too small for him to get out with his peanut-filled cheeks.

We watched from our camper as he tried repeatedly to escape, but to no avail finally, he took the only recourse he had. He emptied his cheeks and (I imagine) begrudgingly left his treasure behind.

There are times in life when we hold so tightly to things that they keep us from enjoying the freedom God intended for us to have. Guilt is one of those things. Guilt can be ‘real’ guilt, based on things we’ve done against God, against ourselves or against others. Guilt can be false as well, based on the words and activities of others who use their power to keep us subdued and imprisoned by their own anger.

Like the chipmunk, we struggle to move on with victory in sight, but never seem to be able to make that final leap, never seem to be able to rid ourselves of those feelings of guilt and failure that bog us down.

  • Guilt forces you to focus on the past and clouds your vision for the future;
  • Guilt focuses on your failures not your strengths;
  • Guilt sends inaccurate messages about who you are. It tells you that YOU are a bad person when in reality it was your actions that were bad, not you;
  • Guilt masquerades as anger (leading to bitterness);
  • Guilt is a breeding ground for fear & worry;
  • Guilt can shorten your life expectancy by raising your blood pressure, risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety disorders.

Millions of dollars are spent each year to find cures for a variety of illnesses. The good news is that medical science has made great strides in controlling or even curing many diseases that were once life ending.

The better news is that when we talk about guilt, the cure is already available to us…and it’s free! Guilt will never be resolved by a simple pill. Guilt will never be relieved by counselors or religion. Guilt can only be taken from us through confession to the one person who promises to grant us forgiveness and mercy.

Jesus Christ came to free you of the burden of guilt. He came to cleanse your guilty conscience. Other people may refuse to forgive you; other people may continue to remind you of your faults; there may be physical reminders of your poor choices that you will carry the rest of your life. But through confession of your sin, your guilt is taken away through Jesus Christ, who grants mercy to all of us.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I’ve been lugging this baggage of guilt with me for far too long. I confess my wrongs to you and ask you to forgive me and grant me mercy so that I can live free of the guilt that kept me captive. Amen.