Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. - Psalm 51:8
David was feeling terribly guilty—and justifiably so. He had committed terrible sins and needed to be forgiven (2 Samuel 11). In this psalm David cries out to God, “Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice” (Psalm 51:8).
Guilt can be both good and bad. We can experience “false” guilt—guilty feelings when we are not guilty of anything. Sometimes feeling guilty is good, because we have done something wrong and it needs to be corrected. We may need to ask for forgiveness and make restitution to another person. Sometimes we need to run back to God. But even if we ask God to forgive us, sometimes we still don’t feel forgiven. What do we do then?
Remember that if God has forgiven you, then you must be willing to forgive yourself. When you refuse to accept God’s forgiveness, you are saying that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough to handle your sin. Discipline your mind to stop thinking about whatever keeps making you feel guilty. Satan wants to keep you bound up in guilt so you will be ineffective for God. Remember also to pass along that forgiveness to others. Comforting others with the same comfort that you have received helps greatly in the healing process.
If you still don’t feel forgiven, ask God to renew your spirit (Psalm 51:10) and restore the joy of your salvation (Psalm 51:12). Then stop waiting for the feelings to come—go teach others (Psalm 51:13) and praise God (Psalm 51:15). Move on!
For Further Study: Psalm 51:1-9
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.