February 14, 2010

Promptings: Honest Guilt

Psalm 32

Let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found …
Psalm 32:6


When our children were little, my wife, Kay, and I noticed some interesting behavior. Sometimes when they misbehaved and we caught them red–handed, the children actually seemed relieved. This happened more than once. Then we noticed another thing. Sometimes they even came forward and admitted to doing a wrong we had not noticed.

Such is the burden of guilt.

True guilt is the heaviest burden of all, because it sets us at odds not only with ourselves but also with others. And whether we realize it or not, guilt puts us in opposition with God. Indeed, it puts us out of sync with the universe itself. And it grinds. It’s like sand in the gears of our lives. It constricts our movement and stifles our spontaneity.

There’s nothing like guilt to propel us into a quest for God, just to find some relief. You can almost feel the easing of tons of heaviness in our verses for today: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity … and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

If our guilt presses us down hard enough to force us to our knees before God, from whom there are no secrets, we’ll discover an invisible hand—God’s hand—grasping our arms and lifting us higher and higher to know the relief of forgiveness.

O God, from whom nothing is hidden, move me to seek your face when I am blessed by a guilty conscience. Grant also that I may find your forgiveness. For Jesus’ sake, Amen

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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