But, I knew I had to deal with it, so Jim and I talked it through and he reminded me of the vastness of God's forgiveness. And I listened and thought something that is probably very common. "But I don't FEEL any better after having asked God's forgiveness, even though I KNOW He forgave me. I still feel like a big dummyhead."
In my quandry, I decided to go to scripture. The first verse that popped into my head was 1 John 1:9 which we know says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But, for the first time, I think I understood more than that.
I read it in context (vs. 8 & 10) and realized WHY I was feeling so crummy about what I did. Because I was supposed to! That nasty feeling I had about my sin was guilt...and although I didn't like it one bit, it was good. I wouldn't feel bad about my sin, or recognize it as sin either, if I didn't have true remorseful guilt about it. Guilt is a good thing. It keeps me from decieving myself and lying to God, and it keeps me from justifying my sin as a mere character flaw or comparing my sin to someone else's "graver" sin just so I feel better about myself. That guilt, rightly recognized as such, also keeps me in touch with the truth that I do sin and am in constant need of God's grace and forgiveness, even as I am being sanctified day by day. And when I deny that guilt, I make God a liar - as if He was somehow wrong when He tells me in His word that I am a sinner. More than that though, my guilt makes me want to make my relationship right with my Father. Of course, my love for Him, desire to be close to Him and a humble spirit will cause me to restore my relationship with Him, too. But, I've never really thought much about guilt and my conscience and the role it plays in my life and in my relationship to God. I usually tend to want to avoid that guilty feeling that gnaws at me when I've let something simmer too long over the fire of my conscience. Hopefully, now I'll look at guilt as part of the grace of God. It's one way He can always bring me back to Himself.
1 John 1:8-10
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.