Guilt Introduction and Definition

Guilt can send us into an emotional battle. On the other hand, is your guilt a loving instrument of God used to convict, correct and conform your character when you astray? Are you battling feelings of shame and condemnation when guilt strikes a blow to your heart? True guilt can be your friend. It is a godly companion who whispers truth and motivates you to repent and be free. False guilt is a relentless foe. Superficial sorrow brings death! Note the following verse:

2 Corinthians 7:10 (KJV)
(10) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”


There is an illustration from Julius Caesar that shows how your traitor can be cloaked in the robe of friendship. “You too, Brutus,” which was the dying words of Caesar to his friend. Brutus is seen as the ultimate traitor. He was the betraying friend who thrust the final blow. Guilt is the unseen enemy. It is an adversary to your God-given value and worth. When you are in bondage to feelings of guilt, learn to discern. Are you facing a friend or fighting a foe?

Are you feeling the godly conviction of sin, —or twisted emotions from enemies within?

What is True Guilt?

From one’s earliest childhood, no one has escaped guilt. Guilt is experienced if we stole a cookie or told a lie. The Old Testament Hebrew word asham, with its many derivatives, paints a three-dimensional picture of true guilt. [Larry Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, Regency Reference Library (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 322]

The word “guilt” refers to the fact of being at fault, deserving punishment and requiring a sacrificial offering. [See the Hebrew dictionary entry in James Strong, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 1986), 17]

True guilt is the result of sin.

When we sin we are guilty, and a penalty must be paid for our sin so that fellowship with God can be restored. [Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance: Book and Workbook, 2nd ed. (Houston, TX: Rapha, 1990), 19.

After David committed adultery, he repented and cried out to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” Psalm 54:4.



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