The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 9/23

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 9/23

Scripture reading: Psalm 32:1–5

I’m Free!

Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. (Isaiah 6:7)

What do you do with a guilty conscience? There is not one of us who has not sought an answer to this most fundamental moral question. For those who leave God out of the equation, the options for guilt management are few.

,. Denial. What, me guilty? We pretend we did no wrong and hope that the pas- sage of time will somehow make our guilt go away. But like disconnecting that annoying buzzer in your car that tells you to buckle your seat belt, this is no way to deal with the danger you face down the road.
,. Rationalization. We make excuses, hoping that if we can “explain” our actions our guilt will somehow disappear. I was just a teenager . . . No one got hurt . . . I was so depressed at the time . . .
,. Blame. Me? It wasn’t my fault! We take the role of victim, blaming our behavior on our parents, our genes, our friends, our blood sugar, or the economy.
,. Compensation. We imagine that guilt in one area can be alleviated by virtue in another. But look over here at all the good things I’m doing. The woman who had the abortion becomes an activist to eliminate global hunger, hoping this will make her feel better.
,. Self-punishment. Guilt, like debt, demands payment. But how? And to whom? We devise clever ways to punish ourselves, hoping this will some- how atone for our sins. I’ll go on that mission trip to Calcutta for my vacation; Surely that will make me feel better about what happened.
,. Justification. Rather than change our behavior we try to change the moral code. Premarital sex is not bad; only the Puritans thought that way! We justify our sins when God wants to justify the sinner! But rebelling against God’s law makes as much sense as rebelling against the law of gravity. We don’t break the law, it breaks us!

Methods like these simply do not work. They only treat the symptoms. The source of the problem remains. Like paying only the interest on your credit card debt, the principal just never goes away. There is only one sure cure for a guilty conscience and Isaiah discovered it when he had his encounter with God in the Temple: confession. Rather than denying his sin, or rationalizing or blaming or compensating of justifying or punishing himself, he did the only thing that would bring him freedom: he confessed the truth. I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, he humbly said (Isa. 6:5). When he stopped trying to manage the symptoms and simply admitted the truth about his sin, his guilt was immediately taken away and his sin was atoned for!

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8–9)

It is the great moment of our lives when we decide that sin must die right out, not be curbed or suppressed or counteracted, but crucified. —Oswald Chambers

point to ponder • What method of “guilt management” are you using?

prayer focus • Confess your sin to God. Relish the freedom forgiveness brings.

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