these four pages of "Clearing the Past" we consider Guilt, Fear &
Anxiety, Rejection, and Unresolved Conflict, as four areas where things
from the past impinge on the present.
this page we consider "Guilt", how it arises, and then dealing with
true and false guilt.
before we proceed to look at the subject of guilt we need to emphasise
why we are doing this.
reason is that if you have unresolved guilt in your life, it will be
something that the enemy can play upon to pull you down.
are also a number of other aspects, such as "false guilt" that we should
be aware of, so that we can also deal with those things that masquerade
as guilt but which are simply red herrings to distract us.
follows is in basic note form, but we trust they will be sufficient
to bring you understanding.
The Fact of Guilt
happened, we did do wrong! We always need to face the
truth about our lives.
may have problems thinking about a part of our past life, because
we still feel guilty about it.
may be embarrassed or feel awkward by a part of life today because
of being reminded of our past failure.
may have a fear of it being revealed and our being exposed.
In such a case, the fact is we transgressed a law; there is:
guilt - violating society's laws - where we are answerable to the
guilt - violating God's laws - where we are answerable to God.
guilt - transgressing own standards or conscience (self-imposed laws).
guilt - breaking an unwritten but socially accepted rule (society's
first two are genuine guilt, bringing real repercussions that need dealing
latter two are guilt of a lesser degree, but may still have repercussions.
Guilt - a feeling
Guilt is both a feeling and a state.
may not be genuinely guilty, but yet feel we are.
may be genuinely guilty, but not feel it.
may be genuinely guilty and feel we are.
How do we deal with False Guilt?
the truth to bear. Face the truth about what happened honestly. It
wasn't a real wrong!
the origin of it for what it is. Recognise wrong origins. You
were dumped upon!
the truth. Speak out what the truth about it really is. "I'm
to accept any longer that untruth. Reject it and don't let it affect
Dealing with True Guilt
there is real legal guilt (because you have broken the laws of
the country and are answerable to the police and the courts), there
is need to:
to the authorities and confess the guilt
a willingness to pay the penalty, whatever the State requires
a willingness to perhaps make restitution.
Failure to do this means you will have:
ongoing sense of underlying guilt (unless you sear your conscience).
ongoing fear of being found out.
This is against God and there is a need
and acknowledge it, confess and repent (turn away from it completely).
forgiveness & cleansing from God ( 1 Jn 1:9
It may also be against others, in which case there is a need to:
to them and seek forgiveness (see the pages on "Forgiveness" in the
"What it means to be a Christian" area).
a willingness to make restitution if necessary.
Clarifying the Issues
often we FEEL something of guilt but it is not clear if it is real.
The following are such instances:
feeling of guilt because we didn't live up to certain standards, e.g.,
rigid family rules (which may be harsh and unrealistic)
that preach perfection (and set goals too high to achieve)
success & prosperity teaching ("If you are good, God will make
role model where the parent was a workaholic or demanding perfection.
each case we need to adopt realistic standards, and reject these wrong
Inferiority & Social Pressure
is often perceived as guilt, e.g.
inability to live up to social expectations
sense of inferiority which is often formed by criticism#
dogmatic statement of erroneous views about classes or ethnic groups.
each case we need to recognise the wrongness of them and get a sense
of who we are and not what others have said about us.
Faulty Conscience Development
Conscience is often moulded by early life teaching,
i.e. it may be in the family or in church
The activity of the conscience:
The Bible teaches that conscience does
the following good things:
us aware of our sins (Heb 10:2)
the law of God (Rom 2:15)
be reinforced by the Holy Spirit (Rom 9:1)
our good behaviour (2 Cor 1:12)
us abide by the law (Rom 13:5)
Types of conscience
The Bible also teaches that the conscience
(1 Cor 8:7) - not strong enough to resist evil
(1 Tim 4:2) - muted by frequent resistance
(Tit 1:1) - contaminated or polluted by wrong beliefs
(Heb 10:22) - aware of the wrong
(Acts 24:16) - have been fully responded to
(1 Tim 1:5) - linked with a pure heart
How a conscience is formed
child's conscience is largely formed by parental teaching
Christian's conscience is to be formed by Biblical teaching
Christian's conscience is reinforced by the Holy Spirit
Weakening and Restoring the Conscience
conscience can we weakened (see above)
the world's pluralistic teaching
constant rejection of the truth
may need to re-establish the conscience with truth. Failure
to do so may mean false guilt
people are guilty of Sin
creates a spiritual blindness or a deadness to the sense of guilt.
is only removed by a working of the Holy Spirit.
still have the choice of how we then respond to Him.
blindness can allow us to carry on doing wrong without being aware
The Effects of Guilt
If not dealt with correctly, guilt will produce:
- self defensiveness
a distortion of reality as we deny wrong doing.
a feeling of loss of self worth
accompanying physical reactions
sense of moral failure
in relationship with God
sense of isolation or distance from Him.
What is genuine repentance?
is NOT merely a sense of wanting to be rid of feeling of guilt.
IS a desire to completely change
turn away from the old wrong
turn to the new right
must involve giving forgiveness where necessary ( Mt 6:14,15 / 18:21
What does genuine repentance bring about?
forgiveness & cleansing
from wrong past behaviour
of sense of guilt
into new behaviour
into sense of freedom, wholeness and goodness
new start with a restored relationship with God and perhaps with
Why can God do that?
Jesus has taken our sin ( 2 Cor 5:21 )
has paid the legal requirement
that mercy can be extended to us
we have repented
is the requirement on us, the one thing we can do.
having broken the laws of the country
having offended God
having offended another person
guilt is dealt with by:
(& perhaps restitution where a person has been harmed)
guilt is dealt with by:
the truth to bear and holding onto it.
repentance opens the way for God to:
free from the past
into a new future
you have been troubled by guilt, perhaps you need to go back to the
top of the page and gradually work through it again, asking the Lord
to make real to you the truths that are here.
that has happened, you can then come to Him and deal with the past in
the right way, and be released into a new future, free from that which
has been blighting your life.