Confession lances the boil of guilt and allows the poisonous pus of sin to drain. Confession is healing in many ways.
It opens our hearts to receive God’s grace. Through confession we accept the forgiveness that Christ freely offers us from the Cross. Confession is healing because it allows us to receive grace. Confession also breaks down barriers between us and other people. It heals relationships.
Read Psalm 32:1-8. What does this teach us about confession and repentance?
Read Acts 24:16. The apostle Paul strove for a “conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.” What does that mean?
Is guilt good or bad? It all depends. If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, and the guilt of that sin drives us to Jesus, guilt is good. If we have already confessed our sin and continue to feel guilty, the guilt may become destructive. “This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and of true happiness. Now Jesus says, ‘Lay it all on Me. I will take your sins. I will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen; your remorse for sin I will remove.’”-Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 305. The answer to guilt is Jesus. His grace abolishes the destructive guilt sin lays upon us.
There are times we may have confessed our sins and we still feel guilty. Why? One reason might be that the devil is attempting to rob us of the assurance of salvation. He loves to steal away the blessed assurance of forgiveness and salvation that we have in Jesus. Secondly, the Holy Spirit may be pointing out something between us and another individual. If we have hurt another individual, our troubled conscience will be eased when we confess our wrong to the person whom we have hurt.
How has guilt impacted your relationship with the Lord and with others? What can you do to help to alleviate the burden of guilt that you carry? Even if you have done wrong and the guilt is in a sense justified, what promises can you claim from the Bible to help you to move on?