The guilt of our sins can oftentimes weigh very heavily on our conscience. Think about it: When Adam sinned, he felt so guilty, that in fear and shame he hid himself from the very presence of God (Genesis 3:8). When Peter sinned, he became so miserable and distressed that he went to an isolated place and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). And when Judas sinned, he regretted his action so much, but couldn’t find an ounce of hope within him that he could possibly be forgiven for what he did, so he opted to commit suicide (Matthew 27:5).
As believers, when we sin, the Bible says that we “. . . grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom we have been sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).” Grief, as it relates to our sin, is a good thing, actually. It’s an indicator that we’ve done something wrong. If we don’t have any uneasiness in our conscience at all when we sin, we need to examine ourselves to see if we truly have the baptism of the Holy Spirit or even the heart of God for that matter. It should hurt us when we hurt God! We should definitely feel regret over our sins–not just regret for the consequences that we may have received, but regret for the actual deed that we committed. We should regret the fact that we transgressed against not only a holy God, but our Heavenly Father! Our regret should cause us to want to turn away from our sins and turn back to God. For as it is written: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death (2 Corinthians 7:10).”
However, although we should have a godly sorrow when we sin against God, we should never allow our sin to bring us to a place of self-loathe and hopelessness. The conviction of God comes to bring correction, not condemnation (Romans 8:1). In our sorrow, we may be tempted to distance ourselves from other Christians, ministry work, and anything that reminds us of God, like Adam did. Or we may choose to isolate ourselves from everyone who cares about us and have a pity party like Peter did. We may even contemplate suicide like Judas, because let’s face it: We’re such horrible people and we have committed abominable, unforgivable sins, and are now far beyond the reach of grace and forgiveness, and definitely undeserving of the love God. Right? Wrong! That can’t be further from the truth!
God loves us with an everlasting love. His grace is sufficient for us. And His mercies endure forever! 1 John 1:8-9 says, “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.” Let us be like King David. When he sinned against God, he didn’t hide from God or church folk; he didn’t isolate himself from the world and have a pity party; and he didn’t attempt suicide. He prayed! According to Psalm 51, David confessed his sins to God. He asked for forgiveness. He asked God to create in him a clean heart and a steadfast spirit. He asked God to deliver him from the feelings of guilt and to restore in him the joy of his salvation. Let us do likewise. God is waiting for us with open arms. He is ready to redeem and restore us.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.