Guilt and Repentence

We all feel remorse. Our conscience bothers us. As it should! But what’s the REAL motive behind seeking forgiveness?


As Christians, we are all familiar with the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Even unbelievers experience remorse and guilt.

But there’s a difference – and it’s HUGE.

For the unsaved, remorse and contrition can only serve to reduce or minimize the consequences of a transgression. All too often, the expression of remorse is motivated by a need to avoid, or reduce, punishment. Complete reconciliation is truly out of reach.

“I can forgive, but I can never forget.”

That sums it up from the worlds point of view.

But God has a totally different point of view. The bible paints numerous pictures of forgiveness using superlative metaphors:

  • our sins will be as far removed as the east is from the west
  • our sins will be “blotted out”
  • our sins will be forgotten

But today’s post isn’t about the miraculous mechanics of God’s forgiveness.

So what is it about?

Our Heart

The Old Testament is laced with accounts of Israel’s closeness with God that decayed into hedonism and idol worship, God’s judgement, then Israel’s repentance and restoration.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Here’s my question. Why did Israel keep repeating this cycle?

Here’s a better question. Why do we do it today?

I think if we would be honest with ourselves, the burden (and consequences) of our sin hurts and we want relief.

As we should!

But isn’t the basic motive selfish?

I had a very personal experience that changed my life. I stole some office supplies from my employer. Keep in mind that I owned 50% of the company at the time. Yet my conscience was bothering me. I returned the items and made restitution.

Sounds mature and responsible.  So everything is OK – right?

Wrong! I was driving down the road and came under such strong conviction that I literally began shaking and had to pull off the road. With tears in my eyes I cried out to the Lord to forgive me for breaking HIS heart. My sin was nothing short than another lash on the bloody back of Jesus. He had to pay the price.

I had made it right with myself and my employer – but that was selfish. It wasn’t enough to relieve me of the burden of my sin. I had to make it right with God.

Don’t just make it right with man. Make it right with God. He’s the real victim.


That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.

You can leave your comments below.

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Author: Mark Prasek

Christian Technologist. Find me on Twitter @DataGenesis

One thought on “Guilt and Repentence”

  1. This makes me think of the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10


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