Guilt is a vicious tyrant! It haunts, attacks, injures, devastates, distorts, even deranges. And there are two kinds… a false sense of guilt (feeling guilty when a person isn’t guilty) and true guilt (because of sin committed before God and man).
But it does no good to deny guilt or ignore it – guilt is real (even if it is a false sense of guilt)! And according to the Bible we’re all guilty … “There is no distinction: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!” (Romans 3:23)
So I read one of the great passages in Scripture this morning that provides the spiritual medicine that can heal the guilty heart – Psalm 51. It tells us what King David did when the prophet, Nathan, prompted by the Holy Spirit, pointed his finger at David and declared, “You are the man!” after David had plotted the death of Uriah to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife (2 Samuel 11-12).
David dealt with his guilt by praying what we read in Psalm 51! I’ve summarized his prayer under three headings. He prayed…
…“God forgive me!”
…“God cleanse me!”
…And “God restore me!”
Here is a condensed summary of His prayer (but you really ought to read it yourself – and perhaps pray the entire Psalm if you’re struggling with guilt)…
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight! … Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow… Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit… You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices You desire are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise!” (From Psalm 51 ESV)
It works! It’s God’s way of dealing with guilt! Apostle John realized that, he wrote, “If we confess [acknowledge] our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!” (1 John 1:9)