The Monthly Encourager:
Christ-Centered Encouragement for Wounded Hearts

When Guilt is Real
March, 2007

There is such a thing as survivor's guilt. Overwhelmed with sadness over the loss of a loved one, the conscience makes irrational accusations. A mother grieves because her last encounter with her son ended in an argument. He left angry, and he died angry. Now her conscience accuses her for not making more gracious use of her final moments with her son. But in reality, her conscience accuses her for not knowing that these would be her final moments, for not being omniscient, and for not being God.

A father grieves, because he insisted that his son take out the trash before leaving on a trip. He convinces himself that if he had not made his son take out the trash, his son would have missed the drunken driver that took his life. But in reality, this father's conscience is accusing him for being a very minor link in the chain of events that led to His son's death, for not being omniscient, for not being omnipotent, and, once again, for not being God.

However, sometimes guilt is not irrational. Sometimes it is real. It sticks; and there is nothing that anyone can offer to make it go away, nothing, that is, except the grace of God.

What is the heart of God towards His people when they suffer the consequences of their own mistakes? As we examine the scriptures, we find a God who forgives and restores. Read on and be encouraged: What is the Heart of God Towards His People When They Bring Suffering Upon Themselves?. Here is the outline:

  1. Introduction.
    1. Why Harry hated the rain.
    2. Who is Harry?
    3. Is there comfort for people like Harry?
    4. Introduction of Isaiah 40:1-2.
    5. How God comforts His people.
      1. He forgives their sins.
      2. He draws near.
      3. He gives them hope.
  2. God comforts His people by forgiving their sins.
    1. When does God forgive sins?
    2. How does God forgive sins?.
      1. Temporal consequences.
      2. Eternal consequences.
  3. God comforts His people by drawing near.
    1. He speaks to them in covenant language.
    2. He speaks to them in tender language.
  4. God comforts His people by giving them hope.
    1. God gives hope by appointing an end to our time of suffering.
    2. God gives hope by sustaining us in the midst of our suffering.
    3. God gives hope by revealing the glory that awaits us.
  5. How should we respond to this kind of God?