Ever since mom passed away a couple of years ago, I’ve had these nagging feelings of guilt. Wishing I had been a better daughter haunts me. As you may know, guilt is an emotional experience that a person realizes or believes (accurately or not) that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct. Also, guilt is closely related to remorse.
Fortunately, psychology doesn’t have an answer or cure for guilty feelings. Even Sigmund Freud, father of psychology, stated: “guilt is the most powerful of all obstacles to one’s recovery”. And, yes I said ‘fortunately’ psychiatry isn’t the cure because there’s a better way. Let’s take a peak at the best solution for guilt by looking into the life of Israel’s most famous King.
We read in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel about the exposure of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. For sure, this was a dismal period in the life of King David. By divine commission, the prophet Nathan was sent to confront David’s wrongdoings. Nathan proceeded to tell David a parable about ‘one little ewe lamb’. After hearing the story of the little lamb, David’s eyes and heart were opened to the magnitude of his dreadful transgressions (2 Samuel 12:1-15).
Turning to his only hope, David cried out, “Have mercy upon me, O God…wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse me…my sin is ever before me…against you, you only have I sinned…purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean…create in me a clean heart… cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me…restore to me the joy of your salvation…my sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart He will not despise” (Psalm 51 Amplified).
In God, David found forgiveness so all-consuming that it restored their fellowship and transformed his holy purpose in life. David recalled in Psalm 119:71, “it was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn His statues.”
You see, David’s humble and pure repentance serves as a pattern for believers today. Genuine heart-felt penitence is a language God welcomes, understands and honors. If we’ve done wrong against someone, there’s forgiveness because of Jesus’ death on the cross. However, once we have repented, and He has forgiven us, there’s no need to carry around a ‘vague’ sense of failure.
Let’s live forgiven okay? And, continue daily in the strength of His mercy and grace. Like King David (once restored), let’s teach others God’s ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to the Lord (Psalm 51:13).