1 John 3:20 (NLT)
20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
Throughout the apostle�s writing, John has been giving reassurance God knows us and we know God because of His love. In this verse we are reminded God is greater than anything we can feel about ourselves. While our conscience condemns us for our actions, God is the great judge who provides mercy and grace because of His love for us.
The Greek word used in the verse above for guilty is kataginōskō, which means to find fault, blame, accuse and condemn. In our daily lives we often feel the guilt of sin, but God has already promised us that when we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and to cleanse us from that sin. We are not to carry that guilt for it will turn into shame and weigh heavily upon our shoulders.
In the Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, �No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.� We often do this by showing the world we are ok when we really are not. We may walk around with a smile, but we carry around a bundle of guilt on our shoulders. The guilt could be from present actions or something from long ago.
The apostle John tells us God already knows the things we have done. We are not hiding anything from him that He does not already know. We need to realize in most cases we have done the best we could do. We make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes might even be very big. Making mistakes is a part of our humanity. It is how we learn about life and as a result we hopefully become wiser.
Guilt is not caused by what we do. Instead guilt is a burden we add in hindsight. We realize the consequences and then we apply guilt. We second guess ourselves and think, �I should have known better.� Yes, maybe you should have known better but for whatever reason you did not see the consequences that were ahead of you.
God does not want us to carry guilt; so are you willing to forgive yourself? Are you willing to realize maybe you did the best you could at the time?
One more important question, if God is willing to forgive you, do you think you are greater than God that you can�t forgive yourself? Let go of the guilt and let go of the shame.