Free Again: Forgive Yourself

Guilt—a feeling that weighs down the soul and saddens even the brightest days. Why do we carry it? True, it can serve to show us when we have made mistakes, and we must make the best use of it to change our course and to correct ourselves. But there are those who, instead of looking at it in this perspective, spend years suffering, carrying the burden of guilt.

It is an ancient feeling, experienced centuries ago by David, the most famous of kings. He went through the sad experience of being overwhelmed by guilt: “Because I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me,” (Psalm 51:3). Psalm 51 was written after his sin with Bathsheba, which became more than an accident and led to a premeditated crime. Something so serious that the Lord sent His prophet to have a serious talk with David.

He was aware of his sin, after all, he tried to hide it, but it seems that he had not realized the seriousness of what he had done. After the prophet told the story, and the king pronounced his own sentence, he came to his senses and said, “I have sinned against the Lord!” But notice the amazing fact: Nathan replied: “The Lord has forgiven your sin; you will not die,” 2 Samuel 12:13. Have you thought about it? Even before David completely repented, the Lord had already forgiven him!

But David did not forgive himself and carried the blame for years. I believe that if it were today, we would say that he went into a deep depression. Sister White adds: “With the memory ever before him of his own transgression of the law of God, David seemed morally paralyzed; he was weak and irresolute, when before his sin he had been courageous and decided. His influence with the people had been weakened.”¹ He no longer had the courage even to correct his children, and so things became worse. David, his family, and the kingdom suffered the consequences of his bad choice.

Oh, friend! If you feel guilty about something, ask God for forgiveness and accept the grace that He extends to you. And in particular, forgive yourself too. There’s no need to exacerbate the issue. Don’t carry the burden of guilt, don’t be a prisoner of the past.

¹WHITE, Ellen G., Patriarchs and Prophets, p.729

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