The following is a short story God poured into my heart after praying for a friend held captive by guilt, shame, and blame.
~Inside the Walls of Guilt~
Desire for Grace. Freedom in Forgiveness.
Disgrace permeates my mind. Humiliation runs through my veins. My shameful actions seem too great for God to forgive. Once again, I cry out in distress, “God help me let go and fully trust you!” Reluctantly, I grasp my Bible and turn to Psalm 51:1-5…
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.
These dingy, gray walls of guilt hold me captive to my past. Gazing outside the window, I long for the freshness of spring, the warmth of the sun, and the freedom to run through the meadow. How do I break free from my soiled past? My eyes fix on the next few verses…
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. –– Psalm 51: 6-11
Weeping, sobbing, kneeling before the Lord, I ask, “Are You sure You can create a pure heart in me? I desire this so much. For years, these grimy, stained walls encircled my mind. This darkness closes in more and more each day. Time is fleeting. I want out but can’t find the exit. I don’t deserve freedom from this hopeless dungeon of guilt. My sin is too great to merit Your forgiveness. But… I trust Your Word. I trust in Your forgiveness.
With tears streaming, I open my arms, take in a deep breath, and say, “Surrender––I surrender all.” Suddenly my soul is renewed. Something releases. The chains unlock, and I feel a sense of freedom. I read the rest of Psalm 51: 12-19 out loud…
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise. In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; the bulls will be offered on your altar.
Scanning the room, I notice a wide open door–a door I never noticed before. I hear the Lord say, “My child, this door of forgiveness is always present. But your years of guilt built layers and layers of debris, covering this passageway to freedom. I’ve been waiting to free you, but you needed to see yourself as I see you… FORGIVEN–past, present, and future. I love you and long to experience an intimate relationship with you.”
Immediately, the sweet aroma of springtime travels through the doorway. I breathe in this fragrance of forgiveness––God’s forgiveness! Tears pour. Heart warms. Humbleness flows. The once bleak and dreary walls now appear white as snow. Praises erupt. I thank Jesus for His grace and mercy. Examining this restoration process leaves me humbled and amazed.
Inside the walls of guilt is a desire for grace and freedom in forgiveness.
As a Christian speaker, I hear this story over and over. Many people have a difficult time accepting God’s complete forgiveness. They live bonded to their tarnished pasts and unwise choices. This acceptance becomes Satan’s battlefield where he ambushes the mind with fiery darts of guilt, lies, and accusations. Surrendering it all to Jesus frees us from our past.
Can you relate? Maybe you know someone who struggles with forgiving herself of past or present sins such as addiction, verbal abuse, abortion, sexual sin, an affair, gossip, rebellion, eating disorder, self-absorption, materialism, judgment of others, legalism, or something else. We like to categorize our sins. We think God views some sins greater than others. The fact is “sin-is-sin” to God. He is waiting for us not only to repent of our sins but also to surrender our guilt and accept His gift of forgiveness. Experience His forgiveness today. Like Psalm 51:17 says, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart.
Blessings From My Heart to Yours,
Founder of Reflective Life Ministries, Author of My Prayer Chair, SOLD OUT, & Reflecting Him
Executive Producer of… STRONGER: Healing for the Broken. Victory for the Wounded.