David Jeremiah - Slaying the Giant of Guilt
I want to tell you about a young man, 15-year-old boy by the name of Robert Garth. Robert was a track star in his high school and actually had made the Junior Olympic tryouts. He came from a very poor family and as the day drew near for him to leave to go to the Olympic tryouts, he began to think about how poor his clothing was and how he didn't have anything that was even worthy to be seen among other athletes from other schools. And he was really troubled about this. His family had other children, and there was no money to buy any clothes.
And one night, he was watching television and he got an idea. It wasn't a good idea, but it was an idea that he followed up on. There was a warehouse where he often did odd jobs. There was an older man in the warehouse by the name of Joseph Moceri. He knew that Joseph was often in the warehouse alone in the mornings and whenever he had done odd jobs for Joseph, Robert always got paid from a wad of bills that were in Joe's pocket. And he knew that he carried money, so his idea was that he would sneak into the warehouse early in the morning before Moceri showed up. He'd linger behind one of the doors and when Joe came in to start the day's business, he would come up behind him and hit him over the head with a club or something, and take all the money out of his pockets and then he would have money for the Junior Olympics.
Well, he got up at 5 o'clock the next morning, he got into the warehouse and waited behind the door. For some reason, it didn't seem quite like he thought it would having watched a similar incident on television, but when Moceri came through the warehouse with a coffeepot in his hands, Robert came up behind him and he bumped into something and Moceri turned around and saw this young boy with a club in his hand. He said, "I'll give you whatever you want". And by this time, Robert panicked and he hit this older man very hard over the head, and he fell down. He rifled through his pockets and found a total of $67, and he left.
He went off to Junior Olympics, not knowing that that day they took Moceri to the hospital and that night he died. He heard about it the next day. He didn't do very well in the Junior Olympics. He came in fourth in the 200 meter dash. He came home and tried to go back to school. He was a pretty popular kid in his school, but things were never the same. He tried to forget what had happened, but he couldn't. It wasn't long before his grades begin to drop and his track coach wanted to know what was wrong with him. He wasn't performing as he had in the past.
The only way he could ever find any relief from what he knew he had done that was so terrible was to drink, and so he began to drink. Oh, oh, how much he drank. He could only find his conscience to be clear when he was drunk. Somehow, he managed to get through high school and all of his dreams for the future were put on hold. He had had a relationship with a young lady in the high school, and they decided to get married. They were married for three years and finally, she couldn't stand his morbid personality because of all the guilt he was bearing. They'd had a little girl, and she finally sued him for divorce and took the little girl and the left.
Robert was left to wander around, trying to find out what he could do to make his life work. Finally, he moved back home for a while, that didn't work. He didn't get along with his father, his drinking continued to increase. One night, he decided he just needed to leave, leave everything he knew, leave everybody he knew. And he went out of Detroit where he lived to another city. Then he came back to Detroit. He, for four years, didn't know what was going on. His life was upside down. This continued to go on until 15 years had gone by.
Robert was now 30 years old. One night, he was wandering around the streets of Detroit and chastising himself for his guilt because he said nobody else knew. Nobody knew he had done this. The murder had gone unsolved. No one had ever suspected that he had anything to do with it. But then he thought, "But I know, and I'm a somebody. And if I know, there's got to be something meaningful about that". And so, instead of committing suicide, which he had thought about, he decided what he would do is he would go to the police department, and he would confess that he had been the one to take this man's life.
He went into the police department, as you can well imagine, the sergeant was overwhelmed. He didn't know what to think. Here's a 15-year-old case and the guy's walking in off the street admitting that he had taken this man's life. They put him in prison for a period of time and investigated what he had said and found out that he had been telling the truth, that he really had committed this crime. Nobody could understand why he'd come forward now after all these years when he knew he would never get caught.
After he was in prison for a few days, someone gave him a copy of the Bible, and he began to read the Psalms and the Proverbs. There he found some help for his guilt. In fact, one day he got so excited about the fact that his guilt had seemed to have been removed by what the Lord had done for him that he started to shout and he caught himself up short because he was afraid they would move him from the prison to the insane asylum, so he quieted down. His trial was a very interesting one because the judge, noting that he had come forward after such a long period of time, decided to give him leniency. He was given a very, very short sentence.
And, of course, the friends of Moceri were very upset because they thought since they had lost their friend due to this man's murder, that he should have served more time in prison. Robert Garth said this, "My time in prison was easy compared to the 15 years I lived with my crime in my mind. My incarceration in the mind of my guilt was the worst thing I have ever known in my life. Nothing they could ever do to me, by incarcerating me for the rest of my life even, could measure up to the awful sense of being in the prison of my own guilt for the 15 years that I hid my sin".
I want to tell you about another person who went through a similar situation. His name was King David, you all know about him. King David was one of the greatest men who ever lived. He was a man after God's own heart. He was a great king. He was the sweet singer of Israel. He was a warrior. He was a mighty man of God. But as you know, during a midlife crisis when he decided not to stay with his troops in war and came home, he was leisurely around the house at night, around the palace and he couldn't sleep. According to the scriptural report, he went out to walk on the palace roof and as he did, he looked off into the courtyard below.
And there he saw a very beautiful woman by the name of Bathsheba who was bathing herself in the twilight. And the Bible says that his passions were aroused and he summoned to have this woman brought to the palace. He committed adultery with her and sent her back to her home, only to be aware of the fact that he had committed a terrible sin, which got even more complicated when a few days later, the word got to him that this woman was with child and that the child was his. David knew that if he didn't do something to cover his sin, that it would be the end of his reign as a godly king. He tried everything to figure out a way out of it. And finally, he decided the best way to take care of it was to summon her husband home from the war.
Her husband's name was Uriah, and he was serving at the battlefront for Israel. And so, David had him brought back from the war. And when he came home, he gave him a bottle of wine and some good food, and encouraged him to go down and spend the evening with his wife. David's thought process was if he is there with his wife, there's enough leniency in the time schedule here that no one will know but what, he's the father of the child. But what he didn't count on was that Uriah was a much more noble man than he was and Uriah said, "David, I can't go down and spend the night with my wife and a good meal in my home when all of my buddies are out on the battlefield and fighting against the enemy".
And so, instead of going down to be with his wife that night, Uriah slept on the steps of the palace. Do you remember that? David woke up the next morning and realized that Uriah had not gone to be with his wife, and that his plan had been foiled. And so, he didn't know what to do. Finally, after trying a number of other things, David sent a note back with Uriah to be given to Joab, the general who was in charge of the troops. And the note said something like this, "Send Uriah to the hottest spot of the battle, and then withdraw from him so that he will be killed". And sure enough, that's what happened. Uriah was put at the front of the battle, and he was killed, and David had been responsible for his murder. He was even so bold as to send the note explaining what to do by the hand of the man who would die through his plan.
Now, David has committed adultery, and he has committed murder. And when he comes back to his routine as the king, he has no peace in his heart. As we enter the story in today's lesson, one year has gone by. The child that was born to David and Bathsheba is about three months old, and David has been carrying the burden of this sin in his heart for all of these months. There are two Psalms that tell us what it was like for David. One is Psalm 32 and the other is Psalm 51. Psalm 32 was written after David got all of this straightened out, but Psalm 51 is, without question, one of the most heartrending Scriptures in all of the Old Testament. For Psalm 51 is how David dealt with the guilt of his life. Psalm 32 tells us some additional things about how David dealt with all of this.
So, we're gonna turn back and forth between these two Psalms. And the first thing that we note in studying what David did about his guilt was we have to understand a little bit about the agony he was going through. So, let's talk about the agony of guilt. In Psalm 32, we are told in the aftermath of David's sin as he went through this intense emotional pain, Psalm 32 speaks of the anguish of his soul. First of all, in verse 3, David speaks of the silence, how he couldn't speak. "So, when I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long". David couldn't talk to the Lord about his sin, and therefore he couldn't talk to the Lord about anything because how many of you know that the Bible says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me," Psalm 66:18.
So, David no longer had fellowship with God. His heart became silent. His communication with God was cut off. His guilt began to take on physiological dimensions. He says that his bones grew old through his groaning all the day long. He literally became physically ill from carrying the guilt of what he had done. The next verse in Psalm 32, verse 4 tells us that he was filled with sorrow. He said, "For night and day, your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality was turned into the drought of summer".
King David was still commanding all of his subjects as the king, but he could not command his own conscience and he was filled with agony. His freshness of life was gone, it was replaced with bitterness and anguish. His conscience was filled with disgust, breaking his communion with God. His life was a mess. And then there was this whole matter of it being a secret sin, there was secrecy involved. One of the reasons that he suffered so much was there was no one with whom he could even convey his pain. He couldn't tell a soul. Nobody knew what David had done, except for Bathsheba and Joab. And while his sin with Bathsheba may not have been planned, David's sin against Uriah was certainly planned, and strategized, and premeditated.
For over a year, David tried to live with his guilt, and he couldn't go anywhere with it. He couldn't tell anyone. He couldn't talk to God because he'd cut off his relationship with the Almighty. He had no friends to talk with. And you can just see the anguish of his guilt just reducing him to a mere shadow of the man that he had been as the great leader of Israel. Then the Lord decided to send someone to help David out of his problem, and we come to the accusation of guilt. Now, this story, as you know, is recorded back in 2 Samuel, and I'm not gonna ask you to turn in your Bibles to the story. Let me just refresh your memory about what happened. God went to Nathan, who was David's preacher, if we can use that vernacular. And he said, "Nathan, you have a parishioner who needs a visit. I want you to go and see King David, and I want you to confront him with what he has done".
Obviously, the Lord God revealed to Nathan all that had happened in David's guilt and sin. And Nathan didn't know exactly how to go about confronting a king, so he decided to tell David a story. And this is the story that he told him. He said, "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor, and the rich man had many flocks and herds, and the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb that had grown up with him and his children. And the little lamb ate the poor man's food and drank from his cup, and lay in his bosom, and the lamb was like a daughter to this poor man. And one day a traveler came by and needed some food. And the rich man refused to kill any of his many lambs and instead, he took that one poor lamb from that poor man, and he prepared it for the visitor to eat".
And, of course, if you think through the story, you know that the poor little lamb is Bathsheba, and the poor man is Uriah, her husband. And the rich man is David, but, of course, David hasn't figured that is out yet. He is outraged that anybody would do such a terrible thing as Nathan has described. And he looks at Nathan and he says, "Whoever has done such a thing shall surely die". And then he said not only that, in 2 Samuel 12:6, "He shall restore fourfold for the lamb because he did this thing and because he had no pity". David was incensed. And I like to think of the timing of this moment when Nathan, the prophet then, with his long bony finger, put his finger right in David's nose and he said, "David, you are that man". And we're all holding our breath, aren't we? He was confronted with his sin.
Now, just at that moment, we may think that's the most awful thing that could happen to someone who has done what David has done, but I have to tell you that while it was an awesome moment for David, a moment of great and intense agony, it was also a moment of great relief. At last, the thing that he had hidden for all of these months was known. At last it was out in the open where he could deal with it, and he began to deal with his admission of his guilt. And that takes us to Psalm 51, where we read in the superscription that's written over the Psalm. And if you follow your Bibles carefully and you study your Bibles carefully, you'll notice that you can get some good information just from reading what's written over the psalm.
This is what it says on the title of the Psalm 51, here's what it says, "A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba". So, in other words, this psalm was written after this encounter that we just talked about when Nathan had confronted David with his sin, and David now is going to call out to God. And if you want to know how to deal with guilt in your life, if you have any guilt, or if you've ever dealt with guilt, if you know somebody that's got guilt, here's what David did, and this is the pattern that we follow when we try to face the giant of guilt in our life. First of all, you need to understand that he accepts full responsibility for his sin. That's where it begins. He accepts full responsibility for his sin. He never tried to push it off on anyone else. He claimed full responsibility.
If you have your Bibles open to Psalm 51, you will notice how often he uses the personal pronoun. I've put together these verses with the pronoun italicized on the screen. Watch this, "Have mercy on me. Blot out my transgressions. Wash me from my iniquity. Cleanse me from my sin for I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, and you only, have I sinned". What was David doing? Stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for it. You know, that's almost a lost art in our generation. We have come to such a wonderful way of excusing all of our ill behavior on other people and other things, and the circumstances, and the job, and the environment, and all of that.
Well, "I wouldn't have done it if it hadn't been for this". You know, the only way you will ever get freedom from guilt is to step up to the plate, acknowledge what you've done, and take full responsibility for it. That's what David did. You say, "Well, I don't need that". Well, you need it if you want to get well. You need it if you want the burden lifted off of you. If you keep covering it, and hiding it, and pushing it away, then you will never know the relief that we're going to see David finds here in a few moments. Take full responsibility for his sin. He didn't blame heredity. He didn't blame society. He didn't blame his fallen nature. He just looked himself in the mirror and said, "I'm the one. It's my responsibility". And then he acknowledges the sinfulness of sin. He doesn't try to soft pedal what he's done. He uses a number of words here in Psalm 51 that are very important.
In these three verses, he uses four different words to describe what he had done. First of all, uses the word "transgressions". He said, "Lord, I've transgressed". This is the word which means a revolt against the law. "Lord, I've transgressed your law". And he uses the word "iniquity," which has to do with a perverseness of man's nature. He uses the word "sin," a word, which means to miss the mark, and he uses the word evil, which is a vile thing that deserves condemnation. Now, the reason I say that is because it's so easy for us when we come to get rid of our guilt, whether it be a small or large thing, to try to pass it off as something not very important at all, and not deal with it.
How many of you know that when you confess your sin, the concept of confession is all the same. Confession is to say about your sin what God says about it, to acknowledge what you have done through the eyes of Almighty God, to say, "God, this is what I've done, and this is what it is, it's sin". David wrote these words, he said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These, oh God, will you not despise". In Psalm 32:5, David talks about this prayer that he has prayed and he reviews his confession and this is what he says, "I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity, I have not hidden. I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the iniquity of my sin".
That's just plain language, plain talk from the Word of God. You know, people do not talk about sin much anymore. It is a word that's gone out of our vocabulary. The awareness of sin used to shadow our forefathers. Christians of another generation hated sin. They feared it, they fled from it. They grieved over it. Some of our grandparents agonized over their sins. A man who lost his temper might wonder if he could still go to Holy Communion that week. A woman who, for years, envied her more attractive and intelligent sister, might worry that this sin would threaten her very salvation. In today's group confessionals, it's harder to tell. We've come up with a new way to deal with sin.
The newer language of Zion is like this, "Let us confess our problem with human relational adjustment dynamics, and especially our feebleness in networking". Or, "I just like to share that we need to target holiness as a growth area". Where sin is concerned, people just mumble. They don't ever come to grips with what it is. A sociologist by the name of James Davidson Hunter has observed school teachers no longer say anything as pointed as, "Stop it please. You're disturbing the class". For these are judgmental words. Instead to a strongarmed youth who is rattling classroom windows with his tennis ball, educationally correct teachers put a sentence together like this, "What are you doing? Why are you doing it? And how does doing it make you feel"?
Hunter goes on to say that the word "sin" finds its home mostly on dessert menus. Peanut butter binge and chocolate decadence are sinful, lying is not. And we all know that, don't we? That we have, we have fudged away the meaning of sin, and that's why there are so many guilty people walking around in our world today, because there's no way to get rid of guilt until you first of all acknowledge that you've done wrong. And I'm not talking about big things. I'm talking about anything. If you want forgiveness and relief from guilt, you have to step up to the line and take responsibility for what you've done. You have to acknowledge that what you've done is wrong, and then you have to make your confession to Almighty God.
Notice what David said, "Against you and you only have I sinned and done this evil in your sight". Now, it's not that David has forgotten that everybody else has been hurt in this thing too. He knows that Bathsheba has been hurt, manipulated through David's power play. Obviously, Uriah had the big hurt, he's no longer around. He knows that Joab has compromised his integrity to be a part of something that he had no choice in. And the little boy that was born to Bathsheba, certainly he was an innocent person who got hurt in this whole thing. So, David's not saying, "Lord, nobody else counts". But what he is saying is, "Lord, when I look at what I've done, I realized that what I've done is first and foremost and fundamentally a violation of your Holy standard. And God, I have grieved your heart by what I've done". And he confesses his sin to Almighty God. He sees that ultimately his sin is an insult and an injury to God, the God of grace, the God who had so wonderfully blessed him. And so, he confesses his sin to God.
There's only one person in this universe who can forgive your sin, and that's God Almighty. I cannot forgive your sin. I can pray to God for you. Your priest can't forgive your sin. Your pastor can't forgive your sin. There's only one person in all of the universe who can forgive sin and that's Almighty God. So, when you come with your guilt, and you acknowledge what you've done, and you accept the responsibility for it, then you offer it up to Almighty God and you say, "Lord God, I've sinned against you. Please forgive me". And I want you to notice what David asked God to do for him in the answer to guilt. First of all, he said, "God, remove my sin". Psalm 51:2 says, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin". Psalm 51:7 says, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow". Psalm 51:9 David said, "Hide your face from my sin and blot out all my iniquities".
It's interesting that the same intensity that David used to describe his sin, he now uses to describe the forgiveness from his sin. If sin is bad news, we're in the good news part right now because God is going to take care of this because David has come to him humbly and openly to confess what he has done. In verse 2, he asked God to wash him from his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin. He sees sin as a stain on his soul, and the word "cleanse" he uses is a technical word for the cleansing of a leper in the Old Testament. It's like David is saying, "Lord, take away the leprosy from my soul and make me clean again". In verse 7, he prays to be purged with hyssop. In the Old Testament tradition in the law, when a person came in contact with a dead body, they had to be ceremonially cleansed with hyssop.
David knows that he has been in contact with death through Uriah and so he praised Almighty God, "Purge me with hyssop and make me clean". And then he says, "Lord, blot out my sin". The sins of murder and adultery have no remedy in the Old Testament law in terms of proper sacrifice. The only way David could deal with these sins was to ask God to block them out of the book. "Lord, take the magic marker and just cross through them in the book that's written against me". How many of you know God can do that, that he will? And then David asked, "Lord God, don't just forgive my sin, but restore my joy".
How many of you know that when you've done something and you haven't dealt with it, that's gotta be the most miserable experience you can go through? I mean, if you've ever lived with something that, that you know you shouldn't have done that you haven't dealt with properly, and it's lurking back there in the background and you're trying to deal with it, it can just take all of the fun out of life. Can I get a witness? And this is what David said. He said, verse 8, "Make me to hear the joy and gladness that the bones you have broken may rejoice, and restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me by your generous Spirit". Now, David isn't asking God to give him back his salvation because he hasn't lost his salvation. But he's saying, "God, give me back the joy of my salvation".
How many of you know you could lose the joy of your salvation sometimes? You're walking along trying to honor God, and then you do something you shouldn't do and then all of a sudden, the joy is gone. And David wanted that joy back. You see, the problem with being a backslider, if I can use that old-fashioned word, is that a backslider's gonna be more miserable than a than a non-Christian will ever be because the backslider knows what it's like to be in fellowship with God and what he's missing by not being in fellowship with God. A person who's never known God would never know that. So, David says, "Lord, give me back my joy. Restore my joy, make me hear my glad joy again in my heart. And Lord, renew my fellowship with you". Notice verse 11, "Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me".
To be cast away from the presence of God would mean that a person would be lost forever. David, he actually feared that he might be lost, but he prays that God would not take his Holy Spirit from him. And I'm reminded that there was a day when David became king, when in the Old Testament, we're told that God removed his spirit from Saul and placed him in David because of Saul's sin. David didn't want that to happen. He said, "Lord God, don't ever take your Holy Spirit". And then David begins to refocus on the future. Notice in verse 12, "Uphold me, Lord God, by your generous Spirit. Lord, I've been through this, I don't ever want to go through it again".
How many of you know if you've been through something like this, and you get on the other side of it, and you get it all taken care of, and you get it confessed and forgiven and all of that there's a sense in which you need to sit right down and make some covenants with God. "Lord, God, I don't ever want to go down this road again. I don't ever want to go through this mess again. So, uphold me with your Spirit. Uphold me with your generous Spirit. Lord God, keep me focused now on the future so nothing like this ever happens to me again". That's what we ought to do when we fall to guilt, when we deal with guilt. We ought to come out of it with a new focus on the future saying, "Lord God, never let this happen to me again".
If you go back to Psalm 32 in the first two verses, you will see what happened in David's life. A psalm of David, a contemplation, watch what he says. Read it out loud with me from the screen. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit". You know what the word "blessed" means? It means happy. Happy is the man whose sin is forgiven.
Let me tell you something, friends. I know this has been a little bit of a heavy sermon. I like sermons that aren't heavy just like you do. But here's the good news, listen to me. I don't care what you've done, how bad it may be, what anybody has said to you about what you've done, there is no sin that is too great that it cannot be forgiven by Almighty God. Do you hear me? God is willing to forgive any sin. You may think you have sinned away God's grace and that there's nothing God can do for you, but I'm here to tell you, no matter what you've done, God forgave a murder and adultery in one man.
God forgave him, and God will forgive you. But he's not gonna forgive you if you don't come at it the way David did. David came at forgiveness and restoration through his understanding of how God deals with us. Yes, God is gracious, but God doesn't trivialize what we do. When we face it, then God accepts what we've said, and he forgives us as he forgave David, and as he wants to forgive any of us, and as he has forgiven me. You know, all of us have our little stories of things in the past that have happened and nobody knew about it and how God confronts us with our guilt.
When I was a student back in high school, I worked for a hardware store in Cedarville, Ohio. And a man who ran that hardware store was a man by the name of Fred Lutenberger. He was a wonderful guy, but he was a hard taskmaster. And he put me up in the attic in that hardware store, cleaning up after the pipes where they would thread pipes and all the filings and stuff would be on the floor and be full of oil. And I'd come home every night just filthy dirty. It wasn't a fun job, and it seemed like I got bad duty every day I went to work.
And once in a while, I'd get to work on the floor. And one day I was working and someone came in from outside. And I don't know what they wanted to buy. It was a $20 item that was out on the sidewalk, and I sold it to them, took the money. And I had to go do something and put the money in my pocket, and I went home. And I didn't do that on purpose but when I got home, I realized that I had kept that money, and that it hadn't been put in the register. And so, I got to thinking, you know, $20 was a lot of money to me. This guy had been working me way over time, and I hadn't gotten paid for it. I mean, I had the whole thing worked out, you know?
So, I just kept the money. I was maybe 15 years old. I didn't think about it a lot at first, but every once in a while I would think about it. Every time I wanted to do something for God, that'd come up. But you know my father was the president of the college in the city. I couldn't think of any way I could go deal with that, that it wouldn't be so embarrassing. And I figured, you know, I was saving my dad all this embarrassment by not dealing with it, which was noble on my part, you know?
See, I know how to play all these games just like you do. And then I went off to seminary and I got married. And we went to our first ministry in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. And I was working with a bunch of young people, and I remember particularly one time I was asked to go to the Bible club camp in upper Darby, Pennsylvania and speak to a group of young people, and I went by myself. And I was driving my car up to upper Darby and on the way up, I just became so overwhelmed with the guilt of what I had done. And I started figuring up the interest on $20 now for all these years.
And so, I stopped in this little town and I took, I think $60 that I had in my pocket, put it in an envelope and I addressed it to the Cedarville Hardware, but I didn't put any note in it or anything, I just put the money in the envelope, just sent it back. I figured now at least, you know, I've done this. Well, you know, I hadn't confessed it, I hadn't asked for forgiveness, and it was still heavy on my heart. And I know you're gonna think I made this up, but I didn't make this up. This is the honest truth.
I was preaching in my church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the hardware company had a major convention in Fort Wayne. And I was in the pulpit preaching, and to my amazement, Fred Lutenberger and his wife walked into my church where I was preaching. You talk about Nathan. And they sat down in the third row, and I'll tell you what, I must have messed that message up so bad. And I remember as soon as it was over and I could graciously get away. We had a brief invitation. I walked off the platform, and I went right back down there and I got their arms and said, "Come with me".
And I took them back to my study. And I said, "I want to ask you a question. Do you remember several years ago getting an envelope that just had $60 in it, and there was no note or anything"? And he said, "Yeah, that was strange, wasn't it"? Said his wife. I said that was from me. And then I started to cry because this had been something that I'd been carrying for all these years. Isn't that something how one little thing like that can just destroy you. And I said, "Fred, I want to ask you to forgive me because I took some money when I was working for you as a 15-year-old boy, and I put it in my pocket and I took it home. And I never did repay it. I tried to repay it with that money that I sent you, but I know that's not the way it's done. So, I'm here in this study, and I'm asking you to forgive me".
And they put their arms around me and hugged me and told me they love me and thanked me for doing it. And you know what? I gotta tell you something. There is nothing like the knowledge that you've been forgiven, amen, that God forgives you, that he will take away your guilt, and you can live without guilt. You don't have to deal with the guilt in your life. You can be free from it. God will forgive you, and I think most people will forgive you too. But you've got to ask God, you've got to initiate the process. Blessed is the man whose sin is forgiven, and whose iniquity is not counted against him. If you've never received the forgiveness of sin and the release of the guilt of your life, I ask you to do it today.