For those of us who wrestle with guilt, it’s easy to become hopeless at times. Looking back across the spectrum of mistakes in the past can be crippling. We see others around us who appear to have it all together, and we may even be tempted to give up.
I have a message of hope to share. I’d like to introduce you to Manasseh, he was King of Judah from 695-642 BC. Here are some of the high points of his career:
- He killed his sons by sacrificing them in a fire (2 Chron 33:6)
- He “shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end.” (2 Kings 21:16)
- He built altars within the temple of God for the worship of idols (2 Chron. 33:4)
- He practiced sorcery and witchcraft (2 Chron 33:6)
- He carved, raised and worshipped an idol within the temple of God (2 Chron 33:7)
- He ignored God speaking to him (2 Chron 33:10)
Not only was he guilty of the above offenses (sins), but he did not go alone, he led an entire nation down the same road. He is described by God as having done more evil than the pagan nation of Amorites that had been driven out before them (2 Kings 21:11).
God, in His holiness, poured out wrath on Manasseh and Judah. God enabled the Assyrian army to conquer them, and Manasseh was led away in shackles and with a bronze hook through his nose. Manasseh, in humiliation, was finally broken and “humbled himself greatly” before God (2 Chron. 33:12).
The awesome, compassionate, unchanging God we serve was true to His promises:
And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God. 2 Chronicles 33:13
God forgave and restored Manasseh, and He desires to forgive and restore us as well. Manasseh did “evil in the eyes of the Lord.” It doesn’t get any worse than that, no matter what you’ve done wrong specifically, it’s the same in God’s eyes – evil.
Like Manasseh, fall broken before Him, humbling yourself greatly. If you’ve never surrendered your life to Him and received His salvation, confess your sin before Him, and acknowledge your need for Him. Let Him break the chains of sin, guilt and regret. For more on salvation click here.
If you have a relationship with Him, humble yourself before Him and cling to His promises. If you’ve repented (asked for God’s forgiveness, and turned away from whatever sin has ensnared you), He HAS forgiven you:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
“Guilt” is not from God. Holy conviction prior to repentance is from Him, His gift to us, guiding us into a closer relationship with Him. Once we’ve repented, we are to focus on what is before us, without looking back to the past. Throw off Satan’s shackles of guilt today, and victoriously run the race before you in freedom bought with the precious blood of Jesus.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 13b-14