Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. —Psalm 32:5
…trying to hide my guilt.
When I refuse to confess my sins, guilt gnaws at me. Guilt is a spiritual warning sign. When I ignore it, I force myself to try and hide my remorse. Honestly, I’m not trying to hide it from others. I’m trying to hide it from myself.
Here are some of the faulty mental excuses I’ve used to camouflage my guilt.
- It is hurting no one else. This thought fools me into thinking I live in a bubble that protects those closest to me from my private bad behavior. It is lie. Hiding guilt takes emotional and mental energy. The energy spent to hide sin is energy robbed from the relationships in my life. People may not know about my sin, but they are fully aware of my inability to engage and connect with them in matters of the heart.
- It is not as bad as someone else’s sin. Here I believe I am morally more acceptable than someone else. I say to myself, “I must be okay because I’m not acting LIKE THAT!” Unfortunately, I always judge myself by my intentions. I judge others by their actions. Therefore, my sinful actions never seem bad to me because I know I intended to be better. I just messed up and failed. I’ve learned over time no one sees my sinfulness this way. I can always find someone behaving worse than me, but that does not hide my guilt.
- It feels so right. It can’t be wrong. The immediate feelings a sinful action creates are not the true feelings I will have after the dust clears. The gratification found in sinful actions has a way of hiding guilt, but only for a little while. Eventually, guilt outweighs whatever pleasure I might have experienced. And like the cycle of addiction, the only way I can hide the guilt is to engage in more of the sinful activity—only to come off the high and find more guilt. It is a vicious cycle.
- It is really not a sin. Basically, I lie to myself and set out to prove that my lie is really the truth. Here is how it works. I commit a sin. I feel guilt. I then tell myself I should not feel guilty because my action was not a sin. I then find supporting resources or people who agree with me to prop up my lie. The danger: If I convince myself that my own lie is the truth, I am in deep darkness. It is extremely difficult to rebound from this type of lie and guilt grows.
- It was the only thing I could do. Here I justify my sin. I know I behaved badly, but my bad behavior was set in motion by circumstances out of my control. I might say, “If so-and-so had been a better person, I would have acted differently.” Or, I might think, “The right thing I should have done would have only made things worse.” Or, “The correct action would have made me a doormat.” Literally, there are hundreds of excuses I might use to justify a sinful action to hide my guilt.
Hopefully, you are not trying any of these camouflaging techniques. If you are, learn from me. They do not work. Your guilt will not go away. Instead, take the advice of the Psalmist…
“I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”…all my guilt is gone…
Guess what? I have tried this too. It works! Stop trying to hide your guilt. Embrace it. Own it. Confess it. If you don’t know how to confess your sins, read this.
Here is a song that encourages me. May it do the same for you. Light Up the Sky by The Afters
If you found these words encouraging, please share them someone. It is an easy way to encourage someone in your world.