How to Deal with Guilt as a Christian
It is common for Christians to feel guilty even after they have asked God for forgiveness. They feel like they have to do something more so that they can feel better about themselves. If you have been feeling guilty when you know you are not, it means that there is a lie you have come to believe about sin and forgiveness. It is possible to deal with guilt as a Christian with God’s help.
When you sin, you are guilty. Hebrews 10:2 shows us that sin brings guilt into our lives and it is only when we are forgiven and cleansed from our sins that the guilt leaves. If there is any sin you may be holding on to, repent and ask God to forgive you so that you will no longer be guilty.
If you continue to feel guilt after repenting, then you need to ask God why. God does not remember your sins after He forgives you (Hebrews 8:12). God sent Jesus to die for our sins so that through Him we would have forgiveness.
Is Your Conscience Clear?
If you are feeling guilty after you have repented then you may be holding on to your sins instead of letting them go. When God forgives us, He cleanses our consciences so that we will not continue to feel guilty when we are not living in sin. According to Hebrews 10:22, God cleanses us from a guilty conscience and that means that He takes away the guilty that lies in your conscience. If you continue to feel guilty, it is not the Lord’s doing.
The enemy will remind you of your past sins even where they are forgiven in Christ. He will make you believe that you are guilty when you are not. You will feel like you owe others something even after you have asked for their forgiveness. Believe God when He says that He does not remember your sins anymore. He has set you free from guilt, and you can rejoice in your freedom.
The Only Way Out of Guilt is Forgiveness of Sin
No one should make you feel like you have to atone for your sins when you have apologized to them and have received God’s forgiveness. This is usually a great source of guilt and it will hinder the growth of your relationship with God. When you ask God to forgive you, there is nothing else He is expecting you to do to atone for your sins. We are the ones who feel like we are supposed to do more so that God will be pleased with us. Hebrews 10:18 shows us that once we have been forgiven by God, there is no longer need for any other sacrifice for sin.
The reason many Christians feel like they have to do something more to get rid of guilt is because of trying to live by the Law. According to the Law, those who sinned had to offer sacrifices for sin and do other things to atone for their sins. This comes from a religious mindset that keeps many in bondage. We are under the grace of Jesus Christ where God shows us mercy when we repent. Our works cannot cleanse us from any sin we have committed; the only way out is repentance.
Guilt can also come from sins we have committed unknowingly. “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible” (Leviticus 5:17). There are things we do without knowing they are sinful, and it is only when God reveals them to us that we know the truth. Ask God to show you if there are any sins you have and need to repent. This will remove the guilt that comes with them and your conscience will be clear.
King David knew there was a possibility that he had hidden faults or sins and knew that they would make him guilty (Psalm 19:12). He asked God to help him because he understood that it is impossible to discern the sins you sometimes commit without knowing. As you read the Word of God, He will show you the things He calls sins that you did not think were harmful to your spirit.
There are things we have done in the past and forgot or pushed them down so that we can forget them. The only problem is that the guilt did not go away. It is when such things come to your mind today that you see the error of your ways. Ask God to help you unearth anything that may be causing you to feel guilty.
When we conceal sin in our hearts, we feel guilty and we cannot be forgiven and set free until we let go of it (Job 31:33). Guilt goes away when we are actually not guilty. If your guilt is from something you are hiding, the only way is to deal with it and let it go. God is faithful and has promised to forgive you when you repent.
Feeling guilty does not mean that you are guilty and the only way to know is to ask God to show you. Do not walk around feeling guilty for something that has been wiped out of your record by God. Meditate on Hebrews 10 and listen to what God will tell you about the guilt that you feel. His Word is powerful enough to set you free from anything that is troubling your heart.
Never forget that prayer and seeking God should be your first response when you are struggling with anything. God will show you what you do not know that is causing you to feel guilty. He has invited you to know the unknown through Jeremiah 33:3 where He is ready to reveal secrets about your life.
Trust that God will help you deal with any guilt in your heart and free you to experience the joy of the Holy Spirit.