By Jill Briscoe
David was feeling terribly guilty – and justifiably so. He had committed terrible sins and needed to be forgiven (2 Samuel 11). In this psalm David cries out to God, “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice” (Ps. 51:8).
Guilt can be both good and bad. We can experience “false” guilt – guilty feelings when we are not guilty of anything. Sometimes feeling guilty is good, because we have done something wrong and it needs to be corrected. We may need to ask for forgiveness and make restitution to another person. Sometimes we need to run back to God. But even if we ask God to forgive us, sometimes we still don’t feel forgiven. What do we do then?
Remember that if God has forgiven you, then you must be willing to forgive yourself. When you refuse to accept God’s forgiveness, you are saying that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough to handle your sin. Discipline your mind to stop thinking about whatever keeps making you feel guilty. Satan wants to keep you bound up in guilt so you will be ineffective for God. Remember also to pass along that forgiveness to others. Comforting others with the same comfort that you have received helps greatly in the healing process.
If you still don’t feel forgiven, ask God to renew your spirit (Ps. 51:10) and restore the joy of your salvation (Ps. 51:12). Then stop waiting for the feelings to come – go teach others (Ps. 51:13) and praise God (Ps. 51:15). Move on!
“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” ~ Psalm 51:8
Lord, thank You for the times You spoke to me in my guilt. Help me to discipline my mind to stop thinking about whatever keeps making me feel guilty. Help me to forgive myself. I want to receive the forgiveness that you have so generously given to me. Show me those people that I have wronged and need to ask forgiveness from and make restitution. Help me to forgive others with the same freedom You offer when You forgive me. Amen.