Owning Up to Guilt

Weekend Series: Bad Boys of the Bible

DreamTeam Writer: Isabelle Billnitzer

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

What is your first reaction when you’ve done something wrong?

While most of us would like to say that we immediately take ownership and try to fix the problem, it’s easy to brush it under the rug and leave it unaddressed. It hurts our pride to admit when we’ve slipped up, and dealing with guilt can be painful.

This weekend, we learned from King David how one unresolved problem or sin can lead to even worse problems down the line. In 2 Samuel 11, after he impregnated Bathsheba, King David did everything that he could to escape his problems—even going so far as to successfully arrange for the death of her husband, Uriah, (David’s own faithful servant) to save his own reputation. Rather than taking ownership for his initial sin, King David brushed it off, allowing it to spiral out of control until it ultimately resulted in even worse problems.

Though King David thought that he had successfully covered up his sin following Uriah’s death, I imagine that he must have carried a heavy burden. Even if no one else ever saw it, David lived with the lingering guilt until it finally came to a boiling point and he was forced to deal with his unaddressed sin and all its unintended consequences.

Psalm 51:3
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.

Sometimes, we convince ourselves that what we did was “not that bad,” or attempt to justify it within our hearts. Continually suppressing and justifying sin instead of bringing it to light only causes more harm and guilt than facing the sin and learning how to move on from it. God forgives us for all our sins and wipes away our guilt and shame when we wholeheartedly repent and lay them at the foot of the cross. If we cannot be honest with ourselves, how can we be honest with God, and others?

The first step to resolving a problem is acknowledging it. This can be very difficult. It takes courage to own up to our mistakes, no matter how small or large they may seem.

Rather than allowing unresolved problems to spiral out of control, let’s make it a priority to address the issue instead of suppressing it. It is only by being honest with ourselves that we can then be honest with God, and with others, and heal from our sin.

Has there been a time in your life when an unaddressed problem led to even more problems down the line?

What generally results when you leave your problems unaddressed instead of being honest about them?

Next Steps:
Join a Group for the summer semester to connect with a community of like-minded Christ followers with whom you can share your burdens and struggles.

Read the full story of King David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11 and think about how God ultimately led David to address his unresolved problems.

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me even when I slip up. Help me to realize my mistakes and sins throughout my week, and give me the courage to resolve them instead of leaving them unaddressed. Guide me as I address my problems and remind me that I can come to you with them at any time. Thank you for being such a graceful and merciful God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Series Theme Verse:

Psalm 37:3-4
3 Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

This post was written by Isabelle Billnitzer, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Devotional.

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