Release from Guilt

Lou Lotz

READ : Psalm 103:8-18

. . . as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. (v. 12)

In his book “Whatever Became of Sin?” Karl Menninger tells of a shabbily dressed stranger who stood at a busy intersection in a big city. As people walked by, the man would pick one pedestrian at random, point at the person, and intone loudly the single word, “Guilty!” Then he’d do it again to someone else: “Guilty!” The effect this had on people, said Menninger, was eerie. They would stop, stare at their accuser with a frightened look, then hurry away. One fellow who had been pronounced “Guilty!” was heard to say: “How did he know?”

To be released from our guilt we need to do three things. First, if we have wronged someone, we need to seek their forgiveness. We need to go to the one we have hurt and say “I’m sorry.” Second, we need to ask for God’s forgiveness. Like the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, God is always willing to forgive his wayward children. Third—and this might be the hardest step—we need to forgive ourselves. If we refuse to forgive ourselves, we belittle the death of Christ. Was his crucifixion not good enough to atone for your sins? If God can forgive you, you can forgive you.

PRAYER

Lord, please forgive me, and help me to forgive myself.