Psalm 38

O LORD , do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.

My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.

All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.

Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth; I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply. I wait for you, O LORD you will answer, O Lord my God. For I said, “Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.”

For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.

Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous.
Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good.

O LORD , do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.

Do you know that the Lord cannot punish you for your sins as He did to sinners in the Old Testament? They got leprosy, poisonous snakes bit them, a plague struck them and their livestock, or the Earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up. But because of the cross, where He punished His Son for all your sins, you are free. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t necessarily escape the earthly consequences of your behavior. If you rob a Convenience store and get caught, you’ll probably go to jail, Christian or not. But you don’t have to worry about your name being erased from the Lamb’s Book of Life. Your place in Heaven is secure.

So why do we feel the way David described himself above when we commit a grievous sin? Well, there are two reasons. We may be feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit urging us to confess so we can be forgiven. If we’ve already confessed then we’re already forgiven (1 John 1:9) and the feelings we’re experiencing are caused by guilt. And that comes from another source altogether. Guilt is Satan’s tool for driving a wedge between us and the Lord.

A sure way to know which we’re feeling is to see which direction we’re headed. If we’re running toward the cross it’s conviction and if we’re running away it’s guilt. When the Lord asked Adam if he’d eaten the forbidden fruit, He wasn’t looking for information, He was looking for confession. He already knew what had happened. Adam’s guilt caused him to run and hide, and to cover himself. His unwillingness to confess (he blamed Eve) caused the estrangement Satan was hoping for and Adam had to leave the Garden.

Would human history have been different had Adam simply confessed? We’ll have to ask him about that. But will your life be different if you simply confess your sins and then rebuke the devil for trying to drive a wedge between you and your Lord? You bet it will. Confession restores fellowship and is the antidote for guilt. Because there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1) there is no place for guilt in the mind of the believer who has confessed. Ask forgiveness from the Lord and those you’ve wronged. (He will forgive you. They may not, but that’s their problem.) Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Have a guilt free day.

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