Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Chronicles 18
James 5
Jonah 2
Luke 7

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

James 5:16 (CSB): “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

If the truth is told, many Christians live in spiritual bondage. As a pastor who has counseled quite a few folks in the past 18 years, it has been my experience that guilt plays a huge part in the life of many Jesus-followers. And that guilt is holding so many people captive.

There is something (or quite a few things) in their past that they have done but are now so ashamed of. They have asked for God’s forgiveness and they know that Romans 8:1 says that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Yet, that has not been their experience. They just cannot break free of the shame and guilt.

If this is your experience, it’s not because God has failed to forgive you. If in a sincere prayer you have asked for God’s forgiveness, then you were cleansed completely (1 John 1:9). So, the sin and it’s corresponding legal guilt is gone. If you have sought to make amends and to right the wrong and you still feel guilty, there is something else that needs to be addressed.

The problem is the feelings of guilt. How can we be rid of them?

The answer is found in our Verse for Today.

James 5:16 (CSB): “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”

Simply put, tell a trusted Jesus-following friend about your struggle. Tell them about your feelings of guilt and the memory that you just can’t get past.

Ideally, they are spiritually mature and have a biblical understanding of grace. Ideally, they understand that since you have already sought God’s forgiveness and worked to make things right, then you need to hear words filled with grace, forgiveness, and affirmation.

While that person is not Jesus, and while Jesus is the only one who can ultimately forgive you, a Christian friend can often say words that God uses to bring healing to our hearts. When a Christian friend knows of what you’ve done, acknowledges the seriousness of the offense, but recognizes that you have sought forgiveness, then they are poised to say words that speak healing into your soul that can free you ultimately and finally from the chains of guilt.

If you are battling guilt and you have already sought God’s forgiveness but just can’t experience the freedom of being forgiven, consider putting the principle of James 5:16 into practice. Spiritual freedom and a clear conscience may be just around the corner, my friend.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, thank You so much that Your Word isn’t simplistic. It deals with real issues. It acknowledges that things don’t always go well in this life and so provisions are made to bring healing into our minds and hearts. If I am continuing to experience feelings of guilt long after I asked for your forgiveness, help me to apply the principle of James 5:18 to experience the breakthrough that I so desperately need. I pray this in Your Name. Amen.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash