“Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘Joseph may hate us now and pay us back in full for all the suffering we caused him.'”-Genesis 50:15
Guilt is an interesting burden to carry.
It makes us unconsciously assume that how we have viewed and treated others in the past is exactly how we should expect and deserve to be treated in the future.
It’s not that God hasn’t forgiven us.
The problem is we haven’t forgiven ourselves.
When we do this, we’re essentially telling God we don’t accept His forgiveness of our past sins.
We’re putting ourselves above God.
It’s the ultimate in selfishness.
Thinking like this can negatively impact our lives in so many different ways.
It won’t allow us to enjoy present blessings because deep down inside we don’t feel we deserve them.
It also won’t allow us to accept the forgiveness of others we have wronged for the same reason.
On the way back to Egypt after Jacob’s burial ceremony in Canaan, the brothers were worried that their now powerful brother Joseph would take revenge against them for their past offenses against him.
They were terrified that since their father, who they considered to be their hedge of protection had passed away, that Joseph’s furious hand of judgement was now going to come down hard on them.
This is a perfect example of guilt in action.
It’s obvious that the brothers didn’t understand the condition of Joseph’s heart.
Joseph had to gently and mercifully reassure them that he had no intentions of doing anything but caring for them.
Joseph even tells them, “You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good.”
In other words, they were actually instruments in the hand of God.
When we realize that both the offenses we have committed and those that have been committed against us can could not have happened unless God allowed them, the burden of guilt will fade away and give us the power to forgive others and accept the forgiveness of others.
We can never really be free to grow and become all that our Father in Heaven wants us to be when we carry the burden of guilt.