Crossroads: Guilty

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Psalm 32

Your Story

Tell your children about a time when you ignored the rule and felt guilty. What happened? Were you caught?

My Story

Have you ever done something wrong and felt very guilty afterwards? We all have. It could be something as simple as ignoring a rule, telling a secret you were supposed to keep, or saying something mean about someone else, or something much more serious for which you weren’t able to undo the damage. Here’s a simple one from my life:

When I was in the first grade, I couldn’t seem to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to tell everyone everything all of the time. So being asked to be quiet wasn’t easy for me. One day we had a fire drill at school and our teacher instructed us to walk quietly outside. I tried, but I couldn’t keep myself from talking while in the line. When I came home from school that day, my mom asked me about the fire drill. She asked me if I talked during it (which should’ve been a clue that she already knew). I of course told her that I hadn’t said a word during it. But she still knew, and I got in trouble. I ignored the rules, I was guilty, and I was disciplined for that.

The Bible Story

Read Psalm 32.

David talks about feeling guilty and miserable when he refused to tell God about the things he had done wrong. The thing is, though, that God already knew everything David had done. But God waited for David to come to God. And then an amazing thing happened: “Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone!” (Psalm 32:5). God forgave David for everything. And God forgives us, always. There’s never anything that we can do that God won’t forgive. But God wants us to tell God about everything because it helps us feel better. Once David told God everything he had done, he felt so much better. He no longer felt guilty. Was David disciplined for the things he had done wrong? Of course. There are always consequences to our actions. But God wasn’t punishing David. God was teaching him about what was right and what was wrong. Just as my mom disciplined me so that I would know what the right thing was, God allows us to live with the consequences to our actions because God loves us and wants us to do what’s right. And if we listen, God tells us, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8). God doesn’t want us to feel guilty all the time. God wants us to walk with God and listen to God, letting God tell us what the right thing is.

Discussion

• Ask your children to talk about a time when they felt guilty because they did something wrong. You may want to consider telling them that this is a safe space and they will not be punished at this time if they confess something you didn’t already know.
• Talk about the importance of not holding on to guilt, as well as the importance of forgiveness.
• Remind your family that we don’t always feel like forgiving someone when he or she has done something wrong to us, but we should forgive them anyway.
• Brainstorm ideas to remind each other about forgiveness this week. You might create a poster that says “Forgive” and hanging it in the kitchen, or take a few minutes each day to talk about how each family member forgave someone or asked for forgiveness that day (if they did).

Prayer

Thank God that God always forgives us. Ask God for help in letting go of any guilt you or another family member feels. Pray that God will guide your family on the best path.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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