Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. . . . If we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. – 1 John 3:20-21

Guilt is an interesting concept. By definition, it is a legal term. A person is guilty when he or she has actually committed some offense or crime. The definition can also include the feeling of having done something wrong. But it is not meant to describe an ongoing emotional state that is generalized into a perpetual sense of shame. That’s why John reminds us that God, who knows everything about us, is greater than our guilt feelings.

If we have a chronic or underlying sense of guilt or shame, we need to get to the root of it. One way to do this is to take what people in twelve-step programs call “a fearless moral inventory” of our lives. Do we blame ourselves for what happened to us as kids? Are we holding on to some past failure? Whatever is at the root of those feelings must be brought to God and confessed to someone we trust with the realization that God already knows all about it and has taken away our guilt.

Ask Yourself
What do you think you gain by holding on to feelings of guilt?

Why is it important to confess those feelings to God and to a trusted person?

Ask God
Dear God, help me to see that while feelings of guilt can be an important signal that something is wrong, they can also be a habit. You know everything, so help me as I get to the source of any chronic guilt in my life.

Taken from Take Your Life Back Day by Day copyright © 2016 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.