All people struggle with feelings of guilt at some point. Some suppress these feelings and others are oppressed by their guilt feelings. What you do with your feelings of guilt, is your choice.
- Take your feelings of guilt to the Lord in prayer. Write them down one by one and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the origin of each one of them. When they originate from sinful thoughts or deeds, you have to confess this and turn away from it. Sometimes it is necessary to go back to a person and ask forgiveness and correct the wrong. When the Holy Spirit is working, He will always convict of one specific sin and there will always be forgiveness and deliverance when we confess this sin. The Holy Spirit always gives hope and directs us to Christ and the way to be set free.
- There can also be ‘false’ feelings of guilt. The difference between true and false feelings of guilt is the truth. When it is the evil one at work, it is always a vague feeling of anxiety and not a specific sin. In such situations you will pray, ‘confess sins’, read the Bible and do anything possible, but you will not ‘feel’ better. When guilt feelings originate in yourself or have a demonic origin, it will always lead you into a dead end without any hope. The despair and confusion will only increase as you pray more and seek God more. There is a general feeling of hopelessness. The only way to handle such feelings of guilt is to resist and rebuke the devil and to continue doing so until your spirit is free.
- Sometimes Christians confess their sins without experiencing any relief. There can be a few reasons for this. First: It can be that you did not confess everything regarding a specific issue, are unwilling to admit your share, or have not really forgiven, or that you have not been completely honest with God about the whole issue of your sin. Second: Remember that after asking God on the basis of 1 John 1:9 to forgive you and cleanse you, He will also cleanse you from a guilty conscience on the basis of Heb.10:22. Satan often accuses us after we have been cleansed by God with the blood of Jesus. Ask God to wash away every thought regarding that sin from your mind with the blood of Jesus. Third: It can also be that you do not really want to break with that particular sin. Confess your unwillingness and if necessary ask God to make you willing to do His will and break with this sin. Fourth: Satan can still attack you and try to remove the peace from your heart. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Take note that this verse has three parts: a) Submit to God, b) resist the devil and c) then he will flee from you. To submit to God also means to remove everything that will cause division between you and God. Be absolutely certain that you confessed all sins and are not intentionally and secretly clinging to sin. Also, be certain that you asked God to cleanse your conscience. When you have done all of this you can resist the devil in the Name of the Lord Jesus and command him in the Name of Jesus not to harass you again. Do not yield to doubt that perhaps God did not forgive you. Resist all doubt and unbelief on the basis of God’s faithfulness and because He said that He will forgive our sins when we confess them. Fifth: If you did all the preceding steps and you still do not have peace, do not focus on your lack of peace, but focus on Jesus and know that He defeated Satan on the cross. (Col.2:13-15) Focus on the promises of God and rather believe them than your own changeable feelings. Our forgiveness is wrought by God and a feeling of peace is additional.
Portions of Scripture for prayer
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Ps.32:5)
My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Saviour. (Ps.38:5, 7, 9-11.19-22)
Have mercy on 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. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Ps.51:1-2; 10)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps.51:17)
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Ps.103:12)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps.139:23-24)
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Prov.28:13)
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isa.1:18)
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isa.53:5-6)
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. (Lam.3:40)
You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Mic.7:19)
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins… (Luk.5:24)
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:21)
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Rom.3:23-24)
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Rom.8:30)
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Rom.8:31,33-34)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Eph.1:7)
Then he adds: Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. (Heb.10:17)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9)
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (1 John 2:1)
Whenever our hearts condemn us… God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Heb.9:14)