Dealing with a Guilty Conscience

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Matthew 14:1-2 “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.”

The narrative from the verses is about Herod’s guilty conscience. Herod committed adultery with his brother’s wife, and John the Baptist pointed out their wickedness. Their solution to stop John the Baptist was to kill him. Herod didn't want to be a part of this evil, but he had made a vow that he would do anything for a young lady to dance before him, and her request was to have John the Baptist beheaded. He honored his vow and had John the Baptist killed.

Killing John the Baptist wasn’t going to stop his guilty conscience. Jesus was doing mighty works, and Herod thought that John the Baptist had risen from the dead. Herod surmised that these mighty works were because of John the Baptist coming back to life. However, Herod’s surmising was more of a revelation of his guilty conscience than it was anything else. Had Herod done right in the first place, he would have never thought that Jesus was John the Baptist.

One of the hardest things to overcome is a guilty conscience. You may not have had someone killed as Herod did, but you do know that you have done wrong. It is amazing how your guilty conscience about something you have done comes up when you try to do right. If you are going to live a victorious Christian life, you will have to overcome your guilty conscience. Let me share several things you can do to overcome a conscience that constantly reminds you of something you have done.

First, admit you have done wrong. One of the first people you have to deal with to overcome a guilty conscience is yourself. You cannot overcome a guilty conscience if you keep giving excuses for why you have done wrong. You did wrong because you chose to do wrong. Admitting your guilt is the first step to overcoming a guilty conscience.

Second, try to right the wrong that you have done. If there is a way possible for you to right the wrong that you have done, do it. Now, there are times you have wronged others and they won’t have anything to do with you, but you should at least attempt to do what is right by getting right with them. If they won't accept you getting right, don't let that stop you from doing right.

Third, you get victory over your guilty conscience by knowing who is reminding you of what you have done. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and what he accuses us of is not something that we have not done, but something that we have done. However, if you have confessed your sin to God and tried to get right, you must squelch Satan’s whisperings of what you have done by reminding yourself that you have done what you are supposed to do to get right.

Fourth, ask God for grace for your conscience. Getting the grace to move on can only come from God. Remember that the reason Satan is trying to remind you of what you have done is because he is trying to take your confidence away so that you won’t do right. Don't let Satan have the pleasure of stopping you because of what you have done, but let God’s grace heal your conscience and get busy serving the LORD. The LORD is willing to use you no matter what; don't let your guilty conscience stop you from what God wants to do through you.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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