How can I stop feeling guilty?

Hi friends,

In my experience, there’s often a low-grade, persistent guilt over something I’ve done wrong.

The more I become familiar with what it means to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength - and love my neighbor as myself - the more I can see how I fall short of God’s expectations.

So my soul was refreshed by the liturgical reading for today, Psalm 130:3-4:

Lord, if you kept an account of iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that you may be revered.

Why do I feel guilt? I am keeping a record of my wrongs running through my heart.

The more I remember how I fall short, the more I naturally feel guilty.

But the Psalmist testifies that this is not how God operates! He does not keep a running tally of all our iniquities. If he did, we’d all be wiped off the earth.

Instead, God’s character is to forgive. A million times a day.

If we are wholehearted in our worship of God, the effect of God’s forgiveness is not to go and sin some more. Rather, it is to gratefully revere the Lord for his grace and resolve to serve him joyfully.

If I fear God as a harsh taskmaster, my obedience will be halfhearted and resentful. At some point, I may give up and move on because the pressure is too painful to endure.

But if I internalize that God is, by his very nature, loving, forgiving, and merciful, my heart is drawn to be close to him. His mercy ignites my devotion - why wouldn’t I want to serve a good God? I can live my life with God, not fearing God.

God’s steadfast love and compassion, demonstrated most fully in Christ’s sacrifice for us, breaks through our guilt and shame.

I want to live with freedom, the sweetness of forgiveness, and a peaceful spirit before God.

One way I try to flip the internal script is, when I remember each sin, to reverse my interpretation of what it means.

So, instead of, “I failed to do that, and I am guilty, and God is angry,” I say to myself, “I failed to do that, and God forgives me, and God loves me.”

How does Psalm 130 encourage your heart?

How have you experienced God’s forgiveness?