Numbers 15-16

Mark 6:1-29

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”  
—Psalm 32:1-2

What do we do when we feel guilt and shame? In Psalm 32, David was raw and honest with God about what he had done wrong. Some Bible scholars believe this psalm may have been written after David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, Uriah, to cover up his sin. 

In Psalm 32:3-4, David declared, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” When David kept silent and did not confess his sins, his bones wasted away and felt heavy with guilt and shame. Then David continued, “Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And You forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). Like David, when we confess our sins to God in the presence of someone we trust, something inside us lifts and we experience a kind of lightness and liberty. 

In author and psychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegal’s research on what happens to our brain when we make a confession, he found that when we share something that is heavy on our heart before someone who is empathetic, our brain starts to squirt neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which soothes our brain and diminishes fear and anxiety. Siegal also coined the phrase, “Name it to tame it,” where by naming the negative emotion—whether it is anger, guilt, shame or sadness—it will calm the emotional centre of our brain. As we name something painful in the presence of God in prayer or with a trusted friend, that emotion gets tamed and eventually, we experience healing.

Our emotions, as raw as they may be, do not need to separate us from God. In fact, our emotions can draw us to God. The only thing that can separate us from God is sin. But even sin need not separate us from God because Jesus, God’s own Son, came and laid down His life for us so that we no longer need to live with guilt and shame. Because of Jesus, we are forgiven and free from our sins.

Is there something that we need to confess today before God in the presence of someone we trust? In the New Testament, James tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Dear God, thank You that nothing can separate me from You because Jesus bore my sins on the cross. I confess my sins to You and acknowledge Your forgiveness. Thank You, Lord.

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