“We the jury, find you guilty!” In a courtroom, there is no more ominous phrase. What follows is the judge’s pronouncement of an appropriate sentence for the crime the defendant committed. Whether it is a day or a life-sentence, life changes in that moment for the person convicted.
People can feel guilt outside the courtroom, too. People often have problems in relationships. When boundaries are not set, hurt takes place. The person who feels wounded often lashes out with harsh words that cut deeply. When you feel guilty, you may let down your defenses because you know you did wrong. The things said ring true and bring shame. Guilt and shame are cruel emotions. Shame attacks your worth, not your actions. It is an unfair approach to righting a supposed wrong.
If you have been shamed, living with guilt can become a life-sentence of frustration and discouragement even when the supposed offence was really a minor thing. The good news is that you can be freed from guilt. It begins when you find forgiveness for the wrong things you have done.
Real forgiveness can resolve guilt. It begins when you take responsibility for your actions. It begins when you say, “I am sorry, I was wrong.” Asking for forgiveness shows that you understand that your actions caused pain. It is the first step toward overcoming guilt. Learning to let go begins when you find God’s forgiveness. Start by saying, “Forgive me God.” He can help you to begin again. He will show you the way to find forgiveness and mend your relationships that are broken.
- Bill Hennessy