They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” —Genesis 42:21-22
There are those who would dismiss guilt as a way society or a group within society manipulates people into doing what they want. They see the conscience as something that has evolved according to the cultures requirements and not as a God-given guidance mechanism. Of course they would reject conscience to be God-given when the majority of people reject Him. No surprise.
In the passage above though we see a situation where a group of men are feeling guilty over something they had done 22 years previously! Now that they are in a hard situation they believed that God was punishing them for what they had done to their brother, Joseph. They were remembering “how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen.” Now they believed “that’s why this distress has come on us.” Reuben reminded them—- “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” For 22 years they carried this guilt with them and the situation was as fresh on their minds as the day they sold their pleading brother Joseph into slavery.
How about you? Are you carrying guilt today? If so, it is God’s guidance system for you and He is encouraging you to take the right action to address the wrong action that you took in the past. Do not ignore the right action He desires you to take. This is the only way to get rid of guilt. Confess it to Him and ask forgiveness and then if there is a person you need to talk with, then ask for their forgiveness as well. If you need to take that step today, please do so.
Dear Father, thank You for the forgiveness You have given to me in Jesus. Now may I forgive others when they sin against me and may I ask forgiveness of others when I sin against them. Oh, may my conscience be clear in the Holy Spirit’s searching and in Jesus authority.