Message: Blessings are difficult to receive when there is guilt on your conscience. In Genesis 43 Joseph’s brothers were already tormented by their guilt as they went through the questioning in Egypt. It had been more than 20 years since they had sold their brother to slavery and for all of those years they kept their big nasty secret from their father-who grieved his son’s death. The guilt could not have looked more fresh than if it were the week after as they were questioned. Without even knowing the identity of their brother Joseph, they immediately attributed this trouble directly to their guilt ridden consciences and believed they were being punished for their wrong doing. Because of this tremendous guilt, they were terrified when they discovered their money had been returned to them in their sacks of grain. This blessing did not bring joy, it brought terror to them all.
Command: Honesty is first important step in rectifying guilt. Guilt is an important and necessary emotion, but unchecked and unresolved guilt becomes a gigantic and debilitating burden of shame that we drag through life and it filters every blessing we receive with a lens of fear and unworthiness. No matter how much time passes, that unresolved guilt will never subside until the truth is confronted. This may be the hardest step of all in the moment, but the tremendous weight lifted from acknowledging the truth is absolutely immeasurable!
Promise: Once truth is acknowledged, that tremendous weight is lifted. There may be lots of reconciliation work to do from there, but the truth sets us free so we can walk this out.
Warning: Fear lies to us and will try to hold us in our tormenting bondage.
Application: We all have felt the burden of guilt in some way and in some form, but the shame in our secrets will distort every blessing until we finally expose it and deal with it. This is often a long haul battle because guilt and shame will try to sneak in and lie to us not only about what people see, but what God sees. This story reminds me that it’s not enough to just know that God knows the secrets of my heart. I need to be real with God and walk this stuff out with him so that my heart can be free of the burden of guilt, and so I can see the blessings in life without the lens of shame or the fear of retaliation. So I can stop speculating on the motives of other people who I believe may be trying to retaliate or keep me in the dark corners of shame. Thank you Jesus that you are so kind and gentle as you cleanse our shame and clothe us with humility instead. Thank you that there is no secret too big or too terrible that you can’t walk us through the healing. Help me to acknowledge the things in my life that I have been afraid to address.