Summary: All of that is important, but it is David’s record of Psalm 51 which is his diary of sorts on how he dealt with that guilt. David’s wrote his heart down on paper and we have it recorded in Scripture for us. All of us deal with guilt from many different




The movie “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) is a movie that many of us have seen and is quite a memorable movie because of its portrayal of the D Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. The movie begins and ends with an elderly man visiting the Normandy memorial. The elderly man flashes back to World War II where the majority of the movie takes place. The movie is about the search for the last brother of a family, Private Ryan, and the heroics that it takes to get him home safely. One by one the characters who have sought out this young man die. Towards the end of the movie, Tom Hanks’ character, as he dies, instructs Private Ryan to live his life to the fullest and to earn the life that was paid with by others. The end of the movie shows elderly Ryan surrounded by his children and grandchildren. Guilt is paramount on his face as he wonders if his life and the way he lived it earned meaning for the deaths of the men who died so that he might live. The guilt of their deaths weighed heavy on his heart his whole life.

ILLUSTRATION… Meier and Minirth, Introduction to Psychology and Counseling, pg 244

“True guilt is the uncomfortable inner awareness that we have violated God’s moral law. [For the Christian], true guilt is produced partly by the conviction of God’s Holy Spirit and partly by our own conscience.”

Guilt is one of those emotions that come from a variety of sources and is not an emotion easily conquered. It is a bitter stream that can begin with failure, sin, abuse, harsh words, mistakes, accidents, and a whole host of other issues. Guilt is often times a feeling in our gut peppered with shame, anger, bitterness, loss, sin, helplessness, and so many other hurtful elements.

There are several passages in the Bible where guilt plays a major role. We have just finished looking at the life of Joseph and certainly his brothers dealt with guilt over selling Joseph into slavery (Genesis 50). The priest Eli in 1 Samuel 3 had much guilt to deal with over the actions and attitudes of his wayward priest sons. Peter felt immediate guilt after denying Jesus three times (Matthew 26). Certainly Judas Iscariot felt guilty as he hung himself after betraying Jesus (Matthew 27). You can probably name other passages. All of these would be worthy to look at this morning, but we need one where we can hear about the heart of the person dealing with the guilt. We all deal with guilt and we need an inside look at it to help us understand guilt and how to get rid of it.

2 Samuel 11 records life changing chain of events in the life of King David which leads to guilt. The chain of events includes lust, deceitfulness, manipulation, murder, adultery… all of which end in guilt. In 2 Samuel 12, Nathan the prophet confronts David with the filthiness of his sin and points directly at him.

David you are an adulterer!

David you are a murderer!

All of that is important, but it is David’s record of Psalm 51 which is his diary of sorts on how he dealt with that guilt. David’s wrote his heart down on paper and we have it recorded in Scripture for us. All of us deal with guilt from many different streams in our lives. We can learn from David how to deal with guilt how to stop feeling guilty.



“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

David begins Psalm 51 by realizing the source of his guilt. David had been trying to keep his sin hidden and then Nathan the prophet pointed out all of his sin. Numbers 32:23 rang true in King David’s ears that “your sin will find you out.”

David calls what he did by its correct names. It was a series of transgressions. His actions had led to iniquity. He sinned. All three of those words: “transgression,” “iniquity,” and “sin” show us that David knows that what he did was perverse in God’s sight and that it has separated him from God. The guilt he feels is a result of his sin. David owns up to his sin in 2 Samuel 12:13 when he tells Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Yet, Psalm 51 shares with us that David understood how far reaching his sin actually was. David had indeed sinned against God. But he also transgressed against three others and probably more. He had made his position as God’s King of Israel a soiled thing (2 Samuel 12:14). His sin was deep and wide and far reaching.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion