Write it on a piece of paper, fold it up and place in a bowl. Pass the bowl around the group and take it in turns to read the guilty pleasure and try to guess who that belongs to.
Having a guilty pleasure is one thing but today we will be thinking about the feeling of guilt.
The feeling of guilt is defined as
‘A feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong, such as causing harm to another person.’
Oxford English Dictionary
In ‘Long Lost Families’ shown on ITV, we often see the depth of guilt that has been carried by parents for many years. We see families reunited. These stories are of people who have lived with guilt for way too long. In one of the programmes it shows a man who has been looking for his birth mother. Not only does he find his birth mother, but finds that she married his father and they have gone on to have three other children. The guilt that both parents had carried for forty years was so apparent. What was the response from the son? When asked by his mother ‘do you forgive me?’ He
simply replied ‘there is nothing to forgive.’
Guilt eats away at people. We all know this without even having to say it out loud. You have felt that in your stomach, have you not?
Discuss your thoughts around Judas, his actions and the consequences of those actions.
Did Judas know that his thirty pieces of silver would bring about the death of his friend? Yes, he betrayed him, yes he let Jesus down, and yes he was so low that he even gave Jesus away with a kiss but we cannot fully understand his motives. We do know he chose the wrong way. And then it was too late; too late to turn back the clock; too late to stop them taking Jesus; too late. Judas did not understand the victory of or the Kingdom of Jesus, he misread the situation. Realising his mistake, guilt took over his entire being. Judas was in deep sorrow and anguish.
Matthew 27:3-10 tells us that Judas returned the money to the priests and committed suicide by hanging himself. Judas alone. Judas, the guilty one, now dead himself. Even someone who had walked with Jesus, eaten with Jesus, followed Jesus, made a mistake. It simply can happen to anyone. None of us are exempt.
You may have made mistakes yourself in the past, we all do. You are not on your own. Jesus died to bring forgiveness of sins. Even as he hung on the cross he shouted out:
But the grace of God is bigger than just cancelling out the ‘mistakes’ of sin. Consider the parable told in Luke 15 of the lost son. He wilfully and intentionally goes against the wishes of the father and gets lost. He is
consciously moving away and causing pain to the father. Some of us have lived lives like this. We have caused pain to others and to God; we have knowingly and wantonly sinned. But the grace of God is a thousand, thousand times stronger than the love of the father who when he saw the son returning in the distance ran to him, kissed him and blessed him once again with the status of son-ship.
With grateful thanks to Lt. Cols David and Valerie Jones
‘Guilt is not of God, but freedom is of God.’
Take some moments to quietly pray, asking for God to remove any guilt that remains within your soul, believing that you are free, bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Thank God for the forgiveness that he freely and lavishly bestows upon you, and go ‘and sin no more’.
From every stain made clean,
from every sin set free;
O blessed Lord,
this is the gift that thou hast promised me.
And pressing through the past of
failure, fault and fear,
Before thy cross my soul I cast,
and dare to leave it there.
Bring some photos of new starts in your life. Bring a photo of you as a baby. You could also bring photos of the first day at a new school, wedding day, new baby, new job or whatever you have. You could also bring documents of new starts e.g. a Junior Soldiers promise, Soldiers Covenant – discuss the significance of these.