By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything (1 John 3:19-20).
If our hearts continue to condemn us after genuine confession, this is not of God. Holding onto guilt denies the sufficiency and power of Jesus’ pardon.
A friend told me that he and his wife had gone for marriage counseling. The counselor asked each to write down concerns about the other. My friend said his wife began to write furiously, making a long list of offenses. He knew he was in trouble.
When their lists were complete, the counselor first asked the husband what was on his list. He said, “I have no right to say anything. I have been a burden to my wife and she has been a saint to stay with me.”
Then, the counselor asked the wife for her list. She paused, then said, “I don’t have anything either.” Had the husband begun to argue with her about that, it would have dishonored her mercy.
The account reminded me that receiving another’s forgiveness honors them. If we refuse to receive God’s forgiveness – substituting gloom for grace – that is not holiness; it is rejection of God’s provision.
God sent his Son to die for our sin, not to keep our guilt alive. Only Satan wants you to try to serve God with a burden of guilt on your back. Receive and rest in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, when the adversary tries to burden me with guilt, help me not to trample on Jesus’ blood by denying its power and substituting gloom for grace. Enable me to receive grace as an act of worship that honors you.