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Sick From Guilt
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We all know the common bad health habits that can make us sick: poor diet, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and substance abuse are just a few. But did you know that guilt can also make you sick? King David found this out. He had a lot to feel guilty about. He committed adultery and then had the woman’s husband killed. And although he was king, he could not escape the feeling of guilt. It ate away at him day after day, and even made him physically sick. This is what he wrote about his guilt feelings in Psalm 32:

“Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat” (verses 3 and 4).

The guilt affected his entire body. It robbed him of his sleep. His strength was gone. But notice that David said this was before he confessed his sins. In time, he finally did confess to God. He admitted that he had sinned and asked for forgiveness. He did have to face the consequences of his sin, but he also felt the freedom that forgiveness brings. This is what the next verse of Psalm 32 says:

“So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, ‘I’ll tell the Lord each one of my sins.’ Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.”

Honest with God

As long as David kept dwelling on his sins, he felt physically and emotionally sick. But when he was honest with God and confessed that he’d done wrong, the guilt was lifted. In fact, David said it was taken away. It’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s amazing grace.

It’s normal to initially have feelings of guilt when we’ve done something wrong. But God doesn’t want to punish us by having us feel guilty for the rest of our lives. The very reason Jesus died was to forgive us of our sins. And forgiveness happens right when we ask. It’s not something we have to work for or even wait for. It’s instant! Although the consequences of our sins may be ongoing, and we may feel the need to punish ourselves, God says, “ ‘I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more’ ” (Isaiah 43:25).

If you’re holding on to guilt that’s making you ill, you can give it up right now. Go to God and confess. Tell Him that you’re sorry and turn away from that sin. Do whatever you can to make the wrong right with God and other people involved. If the guilt tries to come back, arm yourself with Bible texts that promise forgiveness. And stay close to the Forgiver. He can keep you from making the same mistake again, and remind you that you are free indeed.  

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® and the CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH VERSION ®.

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