Confession and Dealing with Real Guilt

Click the Transcript icon (immediately to the right of the CC icon) if you want to read the conversation.

Dealing with real guilt is a gift from God that will turn you from further sin and consequences. God uses real guilt to help you repent and experience His forgiveness. It is a marvelous gift from a loving, PERFECT Father God to check your course and change your path.

When speaking about false guilt, there were references to your feelings. While feelings will be part of real guilt, they are much less critical. Why? Real guilt is a condition or a position you have in relation to God and His standards. Real guilt is objective, and it reminds you that you…

  1.  …have stepped beyond God’s boundaries 
  2.  …are no longer walking with God
  3.  …need to check our course and adjust your sail
  4.  …need to repent and confess
  5.  …need forgiveness from a merciful and Holy God 

So, to help you clearly understand how to deal with real guilt, here are some detailed steps that spell CONFESS. All the steps are necessary, primarily to help you understand confession. There are seven steps in 3 phases – Preparation, Application, and Thanksgiving.


Step One: Choose Humility

Humility is essential for confession. Without it, you remain defensive and judgmental and unable to see the real issues that are going on in your life. The prideful person is always less available to receive because he or she does not believe he or she needs to receive. The humble person is in the proper posture to receive something good.

More importantly, when you are humble, you make yourself available to receive God’s grace.

1 Peter 5:5-7 (NKJV) – Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

So, who does God give grace to? The humble.

Your choice is whether you want to trust your life to yourself or God. The humble person says, “I can’t do this by can’t do this by myself.” The prideful person says, “I can do this by myself.”

Scripture tells us which person God will help.

Step Two: Own Your Guilt. Do Not Excuse It.

One of the more difficult things you can do in life is own what you have done and accept the consequences. The temptation to pass the buck and blame someone else is strong.

But excuses are empty. As Steven Grayhm said, “Excuses are the tools with which a person with no purpose in view builds for themselves great monuments of nothing.” Consider a few of the common excuses used. Ask yourself whether the excuse holds up in light of the reply.



It happened a long time ago

Why are you thinking about it?

They have moved away

They can be found

It was such a minor offense

It can still create major damage

Things are better

Good, resolve it now

I am just being too sensitive

Be more sensitive because they may be sensitive too

No one’s perfect

That is not the issue; sin is the issue

They will not understand

Irrelevant, do the right thing

I will do it later

Later never comes

I will only do it again

And you can confess again.

They were more wrong

This is about you, not them

If I purpose not to do it again, won’t that be enough?

That does not deal with this sin. Confess to remove its power

If I do, it will get my friends in trouble

You do not have to involve them, confess about you

Step Three: Name the Real Offense

Confession requires honesty, objectivity, and reality. It is about what is going on. This is not something you can do on your own power. Left to your own devices, you will “chicken out” and talk about petty issues or peripheral sin. To get to the issue, you ask God to reveal the real hurt, wrong, and offense.

Bill Gothard gets it right when he says, “It is relatively easy to remember the faults of others, but when it comes to listing our faults, we may discover a lapse of memory.” That is why you desperately need the wisdom of the Psalmist, who writes

Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV) – Search, me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

To get to the actual offense, you must know the real offense. Doing so requires asking God to show you the real offense and then be willing to name each one of them explicitly. I would suggest that you make a written list. Otherwise, it is too easy to avoid the actual offenses.

Step Four: Feel the Offense as they Felt It

Empathy involves attempting to see life from another person’s perspective, understanding their pain, and then doing something about it. When it comes to confession, you may feel that you are only 10% wrong, while the other person feels you are the one who is 100% wrong.

It is often the case that you think something is no big deal, but another person considers it to be a huge deal. You do not necessarily have to understand another person’s pain, but you need to at least attempt to see it through their eyes. Be willing to grasp another’s pain to the degree that you are moved to do something about relieving the pain – like confessing if you were the one that created the pain.


Step Five: Earnestly Repent of your Sin

Repentance is ultimately how you align your heart with God, which God wants. He wants an intimate relationship with you that requires hearts to align. The outcome of repentance is fantastic, but the process is not always fun because it requires remorse for your sin.

And just in case you did not know, remorse is neither a blast nor popular. It is, however, an internal change of heart and mind, and precisely what you do to experience genuine joy in the forgiveness of God. Simply put, repentance involves a 180o turn from sin to doing what is right.

Faking repentance means you want others to tolerate your sin without changing. It is like saying, “I am just that way; put up with it.”

Step Six: Soberly Confess your Sin

As you have already read, confession first occurs with God and then with the other person you have wronged and injured. Remember that confession is the external act of the internal change of heart. So, while centered on an internal change, confession involves external action. You ask for forgiveness from God and, when appropriate, others.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV) – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness


Step 7: Sincerely Thank God for the Conflict

Most people avoid conflict like the plague. It should not be so among believers. Conflict is actually a great time for learning and development. More importantly, God can bless us immensely even if the conflict is evil. Remember how Joseph was severely mistreated by his brothers, yet he said,

Genesis 50:20 (NKJV) – …you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…

And St. Paul clearly tells us God is at work in all, even the worst, situations.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

In all things give thanks to God because He alone knows how sin will be used for His good purposes. He alone is in control of all things. And He alone can make something good out of something sinful.

As was the case with our section on false guilt, if you are now ready to deal honestly with the real guilt in your life, please sincerely consider praying this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to thank You for loving me and accepting me. I want to confess any sin in my life right now… and by faith, I claim Your forgiveness as mine for eternity. Please help me to never become insensitive to the moving of Your convicting hand. I pray that You will take me and grow me up and make me like You, so my life will reflect Your unconditional love and grace, Amen.


7 steps for confession, apology process, confession, confession definition, confession requires humility, false guilt is Satan's tool, real guilt and false guilt, real guilt is not doing what God wants, repentance, TV0052

Television Shows you may also like

Godly Authority Serves

Godly Authority Serves

Podcasts you may also like

Understanding Conflict

Understanding Conflict

The Road to Freedom

The Road to Freedom

They Need to Change

They Need to Change
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}