Guilty Conscience

Genesis 16:4

“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.”

The verse above is nothing more than a person who had a guilty conscience about

a sin they committed. Sarah was frustrated with God about not giving her a son. She and her husband left their homeland at the command of the LORD to become a nation. To her disappointment, God never gave her a child. Instead of waiting on God to give them a child as He said He would, she prodded her husband to try to have a child with their maid. I don’t know if she didn’t think about the ramifications about this child, but Abraham listened to his wife, to their own hurt, and ended up having a child with Hagar.

When Hagar conceived, Sarah despised her because she wanted the child. Sarah’s bitterness was nothing more than a guilty conscience about suggesting that her husband try to have a child through another woman. Her guilty conscience caused her to become bitter and to treat others wrongly instead of letting the guilty conscience stir her to get right with the LORD.

Dealing with people who have a guilty conscience is never easy because they want to blame others instead of being accountable for their own actions. I have found that people who come into my office to ask “advice” about someone else usually is nothing more than an attempt to berate the other person to try to cover their guilty conscience for their own sin. Let me give you some thoughts about dealing with a guilty conscience.

First, realize that when you see wrongs in others, you are likely looking in the mirror and seeing your own sins. What you see that others are doing is often a reflection of your own misgivings. Instead of spending time trying to change the other person, you had better give your time to changing where you are wrong.

Second, a guilty conscience always causes others stress. Most people with a guilty conscience become very hard to get along with and become angry people. People with a guilty conscience become accusative people. Believers with a guilty conscience become people who get upset over the pastor’s handling of their situations. My friend, don’t let your guilty conscience become a weapon to hurt others; instead, let it drive you to repentance.

Third, covering your sin will not take away the guilty conscience. Just because you have not been caught doesn’t mean you can move on; you still have to live with yourself and with the knowledge of what you know you have done wrong. You can paint a pretty picture about how “great” of a Christian you are to others, but your conscience always reminds you of what you really are in the eyes of God.

The answer to clearing a guilty conscience is not to berate, attack, or blame others, but the answer is always found in getting right with God. Having a clear conscience does not mean that you have never sinned, but having a clear conscience means you have confessed your sin to God. The only reason you are having problems with others is because you have a problem with God, and your conscience is reminding you of it. Dealing with your sin turns the guilty conscience into a tool of forgiveness to show others God’s power to use any person.

Allen Domelle
Author: Allen Domelle