Guilt is removed with confession and cleansing

Published 8:22 am Friday, September 29, 2023

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: It’s said that God forgives the sins of people and buries the sin. I believe He has done this for me, but it’s hard to forgive myself. Some have told me I enjoy wallowing in guilt, not believing that God can take the results of my sin and turn it into something worthwhile. Is this possible? – S.G.

Dear S.G.: For some people guilt is an exercise. They won’t accept the forgiveness that is offered to them, yet that is the message that the Gospel brings. When we cling to our guilt, we do not honor God and we handicap our own lives.
There’s a well-known story of a Scottish fisherman who had spent the day fishing with friends. That evening they were having tea in a little inn. One of the fishermen, in a characteristic gesture to describe the size of the fish that got away, flung out his hands just as the waitress was getting ready to set the cup of tea at his place. The hand and the teacup collided, dashing the tea against the whitewashed walls. Immediately an ugly brown stain began to spread over the wall. The man who did it was very embarrassed and apologized profusely, but one of the other guests jumped up and said, “Never mind.” Pulling a pen from his pocket, he began to sketch around the ugly brown stain. Soon there emerged a picture of a magnificent royal stag with his antlers spread.
That artist was Landseer, England’s foremost painter of animals. This story beautifully illustrates the fact that if we confess not only our sins but also our mistakes to God, He can make out of them something for our good and for His glory.
Guilt is removed with confession and cleansing. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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