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Lent: time to let go of guilt
March 28, 2011
by Pastor Steve Olson, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Dassel

“Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1-2

Genuine love and forgiveness; there is nothing like it. There is nothing like the sense of joy and empowerment that comes in being forgiven.

Guilt is a terrible burden to carry. What makes it worse is that the longer we carry it, the greater the load it becomes.

That is why our Lenten journey is such an important part of the church year. It is here to remind us to deal with our guilt now, before the time of celebration begins. For how can we truly celebrate the joy of Easter when guilt is weighing us down?

The good news is this: Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

As we enter the season of Lent, Jesus calls out to us, because He knows the load we carry, including the load of guilt. Indeed, it was because of that load of guilt, that He came in the first place. He came to set us free from sin and the guilt it brings.

Yet, sometimes we have a hard time letting go of our guilt. Even though we can easily forgive others, it is not so easy to forgive ourself. So, we keep on adding to that load, bit by bit.

Some of that load comes from secret sins that make us burn with shame. Some of it is right out there in the open, but we seem powerless to overcome it.

Like Paul, we find ourselves saying, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” Romans 7:19

In those times, we seem powerless to overcome the sin. Yet, that power is not absolute. For Christ has broken the power of sin through the promise of forgiveness. There is no need to carry a load of guilt, especially with Easter coming.

With that in mind then, now is the time for rooting out any trace of guilt in our lives. It is time to call an end to the self-deceit that has forced us to carry that load of guilt in the first place.

Believe the good news – Christ gave His life so that your sins, all your sins, might be forgiven.

So, don’t hold anything back. Let go of the anger, the shame, and the pride, and accept Christ’s forgiveness. Turn it all over to Christ so that He can deal with it.

Then, get ready for the party, for the joy of Easter is coming.