Crossroads: Guilt and Forgiveness


Psalm 32

Your Story

Talk about a time when you felt guilty for something you had done. Did someone else forgive you for what you did? Did it make you feel better?

My Story and the Bible Story

When you do something wrong, the first thing you do is to try to cover it up. Maybe it’s breaking something you weren’t supposed to play with. You hide it under a sofa cushion and try to act like nothing ever happened. And then, when your mom finds it and gets upset, maybe you blame it on your brother or sister. And then they get in trouble. And as the day goes on, you feel bad that you got them in trouble. You feel bad for breaking something your mom loved. You feel guilty because you know it was your fault and someone else got in trouble. And eventually, that guilt gets bigger and bigger. It gets so big that your stomach hurts and you can’t eat your dinner. It gets so big that you finally tell. You blurt out to your mom that you broke it and you’re so sorry. But then something happens: you may get in trouble, but your mom also gives you a hug. She thanks you for telling the truth and tells you that she forgives you. And you feel so much better. You’re sad that you got in trouble, but your stomach doesn’t hurt anymore and you don’t feel guilty. You feel forgiven.

That’s the way it is with God. Read Psalm 32. From the CEV: Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away.You bless them by saying, “You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you.” 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. 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. We worship you, Lord, and we should always pray whenever we find out that we have sinned. Then we won’t be swept away by a raging flood. You are my hiding place! You protect me from trouble, and you put songs in my heart because you have saved me.  You said to me, “I will point out the road that you should follow. I will be your teacher and watch over you. Don’t be stupid like horses and mules that must be led with ropes to make them obey.” All kinds of troubles will strike the wicked, but your kindness shields those who trust you, Lord.  And so your good people should celebrate and shout.

When we hold on to our sins, to the things we do wrong, we feel guilty. We think about all the things we’ve done wrong, and we feel bad. We think about the people we hurt and we start to think that there’s no way God can love us. That’s what David means when he says that “before [he] confessed [his] sins, [his] bones felt limp and [he] groaned all day long. He felt bad because of what he had done. His sins were heavy. But then, when he told God everything he had done, God forgave him! And even better, God took away his guilt. And not only does God forgive us and take away our guilt, God protects us. We won’t be swept away by things that happen because God is there. We sing to God because God has saved us. And God shows us the way to go. God shows us what we should do. His kindness shields us. We don’t have to feel guilty anymore. All we have to do is ask God for forgiveness. And no matter what we did, God will always forgive. We can celebrate because God is there. God is love and God forgives. God’s grace covers us. Like David, we don’t have to walk around with guilt and the weight of the things we do wrong. All we have to do is tell God what we did wrong and God will always forgive us. Now, does that mean we won’t get in trouble for doing something wrong? Nope. There are always consequences to our actions. You’ll still get in trouble for breaking your mom’s figurine or hitting your sibling. But, you can know that you are forgiven. You don’t have to feel guilty because God forgives us. And since God forgives us, God wants us to forgive others too. So if someone does something to you, forgive them. You don’t have to be their friend, but you need to forgive them. God forgives us, no matter what. And God wants us to forgive others too.

Discussion and Prayer

  • As a family, talk about things you’ve done wrong that you have felt guilty about. If you have young children, explain to them what it means to feel guilty.
  • Write down something you wanted God to forgive. Then, as a family, say a prayer asking God for forgiveness. Tear up your papers and throw them away to show that God has forgiven you.

Thank God for always forgiving us. Thank God for God’s kindness to us. Ask for help in forgiving others.

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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