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Fully Known and Fully Loved 2: The Freedom of Forgiveness
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Lesson 4

Fully Known and Fully Loved 2: The Freedom of Forgiveness

One of the great destroyers of self esteem is unresolved guilt. Whether true or false guilt, this emotion can govern our lives from monrning until night. While guilt can provide motivation for change that needs to take place, it can also cause serious problems if we do not know how to deal with it constructively. Mental institutions and prisons are filled with people whose lives have been ravaged by unresolved guilt.

The world's answers to guilt cannot provide the freedom from guilt we need. A prevelant answer to guilt in modern psychology is to pretend we are not guilty, placing blame on others for our wrong actions or embracing relativistic thinking that denies moral absolutes. However, as hard as we may try to deny guilt, our hearts know the truth, and we continue to live with a defensive rather than a forgiven spirit.

False guilt, on the other hand, caused by people foisting their expectations on us or from unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves, can drive us to the breaking point as quickly as true guilt. False guilt motiveates us to take responsibility which is no tours and to blame ourselves for the wrong choices of others. False guilt╣ can cause us to live with a sense of defeat, despair and worthlessness as we cripple ourselves and others by enabling unhealthy behavior. These are common results when we handle the powerful emotion of guilt in our own wisdom.

However, the Bible shows us how to deal with guilt feelings to prevent them from ruining our self image or ruling our lives. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, He helps us learn to identify false guilt and resolve true guilt.

King David, the author of at least 73 of the Psalms, was the instrument God used to impart wisdom about dealing ith guilt. This man, described by God as a "man after His own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14), at one time in his life became self-sufficient and disregarded God's leadership. As David followed his own desires in this state, he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of Israel's loyal soldiers who was away at the battlefront. When Bathsheba became pregnant and David could not hide his crime, he arranged the death of Uriah on the front lines of battle and then married Bathsheba.

Whether one feels for David or casts a critical eye, God used David's story to exhibit the power of His forgiveness in our own lives. The first lesson to be learned is that hiding guilt is no way out of guilt's bondage. Attempting to hide his sin did not quench the fire of burning guilt within David or lessen the terrible riplling effects of his wrong choices within his family and the nation of Israel. Indeed, the guilt David sought to hide has been revisited by millions throughout history since.

But through the Psalms that David penned about his experience, God has shown us the healthy way to handle guilt and find freedom in God's forgiveness and grace. The Psalms declare that God has provided a way for us to live guilt-free lives, and this is reason to celebrate! God knows we were not made to live with guilt, and the Scriptures declare the incredible lengths to which God has gone to allow us to experience forgiveness and freedom from this powerful emotion. As we continue our study of Reasons to Celebrate, we will observe truths from the Psalms regarding this aspect of being fully known and fully loved by God.

1.a What are the positive effects of guilt? How can guilt benefit us and society in general?

b. What are some wrong responses to guilt promoted in our society today?

c. Why do these responses to guilt only produce more problmes?

2.a. How negative effects can guilt have on people's lives?

b. How woul dyou define the real needs of the guilty person?

3.a. One reason God hates sin is that it destroys our lives. How did David describe some of the feelings produced by guilt?

Psalm 38:4-8

Psalm 38:10-11, 14, 17

b. What was David's response? For what did he ask God?

Psalm 51:1-2

4.a. Freedom from guilt first requires confession, or agreeing with God that a specific action was wrong. How did David confess his sin?

Psalm 51:3-4

b. What did David acknowledge in Psalm 51:5-6?

5. Freedom from guilt also requires repentance, a total turning from wong to live a godly life. How did David express his repentant spirit in Psalm 51:10-12?

6. Waht did David discover as he came to God with sincere confession and repentance?

Psalm 51:16-17

Psalm 32:1-2

Psalm 32:3-5

Psalm 103:3-4, 9-10

Psalm 103:11-12

7. What is God's promise to the one who comes to Him in genuine repentance?

Isaiah 1:18

Isaiah 38:17

Isaiah 55:7

8. On what basis are we cleansed from sin?

Psalm 65:3

Isaiah 53:4-5, 10-12 (prophecy about Jesus Christ)

Eph. 1:3,7

Romans 5:1; Matthew 26:28

Reference: Note 1, Redemption, bottom

9. How does 1 John 1:9 reflect the process that brought David freedom from guilt?

10. What is also necessary in order to experience freedom from guilt?

Matthew 5:23-24; Leviticus 6:1-5

Matthew 6:12, 14 (Matthew 18:21-35)

Colossians 3:13

11. How does Psalm 130:3-4, 7-8 sum up our reasons to celebrate God's forgiveness?


12. From what can God's forgiveness set you free? Why is the forgiveness of God a reason to celebrate?

13. What heart attitudes are important as you come to God for forgiveness?

14. Why was the cross of Christ necessary for you to be forgiven by a holy God? What does the cross prove about God's love for you?

Reference: Note1, Redemption, bottom

15. What attitude does an understanding of the cross encourage you to have toward other people?

16. As we discussed in our last lesson, perfection will never be the basis on which we accept ourselves. What is always the basis of healthy self-love and forgiveness?

Note: Are there areas of your life where you would like to experience God's forgiveness once and for all? It may be helpful to take a piece of paper, go before the Lord, and prayerfully list unforgiven sin. After this time of confession and repentance, write 1 John 1:9 in large letters across the sheet and destroy it, symbolizing God's total forgiveness.

You may want to then express forgiveness to yourself and acknowledge forgiveness of specific individuals who have hurt you. Finally, you may feel led to ask forgiveness of individuals you have wronged. As difficulte as these tasks may seem, great joy and freedom is the result.

Redemption. "The concept of redemption can only be fully understood by glimpsing the Biblical context of human beings held captive by the power of forces they cannot defeat. Only through intervention can that slavery be broken and freedom accomplished, often by paying a ransom. In the Old Testament, God intervened on behalf of Israel, taking the initiative in the great redemptive event from Egypt, the exodus (see Genesis 15:13-14; Exodus 1:11-14; 12:31-42; Psalm 105:23-39), where the goal was the enjoyment of life in the promised land. References in the Old Testament to redemption from sin point forward to the redemption from sin accomplished in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24; Colossians 1:13-14). Though in the human arena freedom can be purshased through money, no human being can break the bondage of anothe rhuman being to sin. No person can redeem another human being. We are all slaves to sin: Christ, however, paid the ransom with His blood, His death (Exodus 12:12-13; Leviticus 11, 14; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:6). The goal of our redemption is to enjoy freedom from the guilt and power of sin and to live a life of service that reflects our new standing (Romans 3:24; 6:7-22; Galatians 5:1, 13; 1 Peter 2:16). The goal will be fully achieved only at the resurrection on the last day (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:14)." The NIV Topical Study Bible, pages 137-138, 1391.

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