We looked last week that when we come to the realization of our guilt, we are to know that God’s standard has been applied.  And when guilt occurs, God wants us to realize and move forward.

Healthy Guilt – a response to something we have done wrong.

Unhealthy Guilt – an incorrect response to something you might not have done wrong (but maybe the world says you did,) or something wrong done by someone else.

So what are the things we do to avoid guilt?  There are five typical things we do.

  1. Deny it – No moral absolutes or wrong morality applied to me.  We say that God’s standard doesn’t really work for us.  We might not go so far as saying God is wrong, but we try to avoid the application of moral absolute provided by God in our lives.  But the same spirit that rose Jesus from the grave also lives in us.  And the Spirit will convict us with God’s standard.
  2. Explain it away or justified behavior – We will blame others or circumstances for bad choices.  This is a very real risk and we all end up in bad circumstances at times.  But we cannot fall into blaming those circumstances.
  3. Punish ourselves – Create other “pain” to mask feelings of guilt.  We try to confuse our pain sensors.  So that when we fall to sin, we start piling on more.  We tell ourselves, “I am just too far gone.  Why bother?”  We cannot intentionally forget something.  That attribute is unique to God.  He is true to His word when he says that he casts sin as far as the East is from the West.
  4. Avoid or dismiss by comparison – We focus on the spec and miss the plank.  We try to avoid guilt by comparing the wrong to some other “bigger” wrong.  We can even see this in some Christian churches.  They say, “At least we don’t do what that other group does, so we should be OK.”  This is a dangerous position.  We can end up being very judgemental in this mindset.  Because we have to point out the failures of others to feel better about ourselves.  But we need to address our guilt, and it is only then that we can go help others by showing God’s love.
  5. “Who cares?” – We decide to enjoy the things that bring shame.  This is usually something that develops over time.  We feel that maybe God doesn’t care about us by bring this guilt, and so we say, “Why should we care about breaking His standard?”  This is where trusting emotions can lead us away from God.

David sinned to a huge degree to God.  Adultery and murder cap-stoned his life that lead to the death of his child.  And yet he asked what went wrong.  But Nathan came to him and revealed his sin filled life.  This scripture in we see David crying out to God as a response to his sin.  David is not ignoring the wrong to others, but he is revealing that sin is against God.

We will continue with this next week.  But think about the ways we avoid guilt.  Can you find areas in your life where you try to avoid guilt?  Commit your life to God and let our relationship shape our lives and our responses to sin.

51:1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions. (ESV)

51:1 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,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar. (ESV)