Motivated by Guilt

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 91


Motivated by Guilt Podcast

Guilt is a powerful motivator. It can cause you to do things you normally would not have done. It can even pave the way for you to make some very bad decisions. In today’s podcast we are going to look at the life of a guy who let guilt open the door for him to almost ruin his life.

I’m Lee Whitman with Restoring the Foundations and I welcome you into this Hope Healing and Freedom podcast. Today we are going to look at how our enemy loves to use guilt to gain access to our lives. I personally have a lot of experience with guilt. If you have listened to this podcast before you will know that I was addicted to pornography for many years. It is impossible to be a Christian and also be a pastor and be addicted to pornography without living with a heavy dose of guilt. So, this message is very personal for me.

Let’s start by talking about guilt itself. There are two kinds of guilt that are talked about in the Bible. One type of guilt is a very good thing, but the other guilt is very destructive. The first guilt is the guilt that convicts a person of their wrong and leads them to repentance. We call this guilt conviction, and it is used by God to help us get rid of sinful behaviors. This type of guilt says that what you have done is wrong and unacceptable. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted;” This godly sorrow is the good kind of guilt that leads us to repent of our sin. When a person repents of their sinful behavior, this good guilt, this conviction goes away because it has done its job. Its job was to bring you to repentance and turning away from the sinful behavior. So, when you repent the conviction lifts off of you.

There is another kind of guilt that is very destructive called condemnation. The meaning of condemnation is very closely associated with shame. This type of guilt says more about you as a person than about what you have done. Condemnation says that you are bad because of what you have done. And because it is more of an identity statement about you as a person it is very difficult to get rid of. Repenting of the sinful behavior does not take this condemnation away because you are still the same sinful person. I can tell you from first-hand experience that trying to repent of your sins does not remove condemnation. I repented of my sinful behavior on many occasions, yet condemnation kept pushing me back into the very sins I hated. What I needed was to realize that I am a new creation in Christ. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Being in Christ is a complete change of identity from the identity of a sinner, even a sinner saved by grace as many say, to a completely new creation in Christ. As a new creation in Christ condemnation has lost its power over you. You are never again identified by your sins and failures. You are now a new creation in Christ, a child of Father God who can still sin, but that sin no longer defines you. You birth in Christ defines you. 

I do want to look at how guilt had a major impact on King David and due to living in his guilt he made some terrible decisions. The story is found in 2 Samuel 11 and continues into 2 Samuel 12. This story is the thing movies are made of. For our purposes we will not read the entire story, so I encourage you to take a few minutes and read it for yourself.

The story starts and we see that King David is not doing what Kings are supposed to do. It says “at the time when Kings go out to battle” David stayed home. I believe that is when the guilt hit him. He was supposed to be leading his men into battle, like kings do, but instead he sent Joab and all the men of Israel into battle, and he remained home. Guilt came over David for not being with his men as kings were supposed to be. Then the guilt really began battering David. Verse two says “Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house”. One of the main symptoms of guilt is not being able to sleep. During the daytime we can avoid the feelings of guilt by staying active, but at night when we are supposed to let our minds wind down, guilt takes advantage of the stillness and attacks. I can remember many nights lying down hoping to go to sleep and being bombarded by the condemnation that I was able to hold at bay during the day. I think Davids not being able to sleep is an indication that he was feeling pretty guilty for neglecting his duty to be with his soldiers. So, he went for a walk on the roof of the king’s palace. As he was walking on the roof he noticed a very beautiful woman bathing. When he inquired about the woman, he was told that she was Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of his soldiers. It is at this point in the story that guilt overtakes David, and he begins making bad decisions due to the guilt.

His first guilt prompted bad decision was to send men to bring Bathsheba to the palace. David was the king and having a woman brought to his palace for his pleasure was not an uncommon request. What made this request a sign of his guilt was that David was told that this woman was the wife of one of David’s soldiers who was fighting in the battle David was supposed to be leading. David wanted his pleasure to cover his guilt, so he had relations with Bathsheba.

Having sex with another person’s spouse is a pretty drastic behavior that many people would never stoop to. So, what might guilt cause us to do. Here is an easy guilt lie that we can give into. You are wanting to lose some weight, so you are trying to avoid certain foods. You have a moment of weakness and eat one of those foods you are trying to avoid. Guilt sets in. Let me rephrase that, guilt jumps all over you because of your failure. The guilt then says things like, “You have already blown your diet, you might as well have another piece of cake.” Have you ever been there and had a guilty lie come on you like that? And when you have given into the guilt lie and had another piece of cake then condemnation seizes the opportunity and begins to condemn you for your weakness. I know when I was struggling with pornography and gave in to the temptation, guilt would jump all over me and say things like, “You will never get free from this addiction you might as well enjoy it.” Then condemnation would set in and begin to attack my identity. The condemnation would call me all sorts of names that I will not repeat here.

Once David had relations with Bathsheba and found out that she was pregnant, his guilt said that he needed to cover up his sin by getting Uriah to come home from the battle and sleep with his wife, so it appeared that the baby was Uriah’s. He brought Uriah home from the battle under the guise of checking on how the battle was going. Then David told Uriah to go spend the night at his home, hoping that he would sleep with his wife. But Uriah had more integrity than David anticipated. Uriah slept at the door of the king’s palace with all of the other servants instead of going home to his wife. When David found out that he did not sleep with his wife, David tried to get Uriah drunk again hoping that he would go home to lie with his wife. Once again Uriah being a man of integrity, slept at the door of the palace with all of the other servants. When David asked Uriah why he did not go and be with his wife, Uriah said “By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.”  Can you imagine the increased guilt that put-on David. He was trying to trick this man into covering up Davids’s sin, and the man Uriah is so loyal he refused the pleasure of having relations with his own wife.

Guilt had the best of David by this point. He ordered Uriah back to the battle and ordered the leader of the army to place Uriah in the front of the fiercest battle and withdraw the other troops. In plain English, He ordered Uriah to be killed. David took Bathsheba as his wife, and they lived happily ever after. End of story, right? No, God was not done with David. Remember that God does not work through condemnation but through conviction. David took Bathsheba as his wife, and she had a baby boy. I could imagine that at this point David thought that he had gotten away with it. He might have even assumed that all of this was behind him and forgotten about. God had greater plans for David. Even with the adultery, deception, and murder that David had committed, God still called David a man after God’s own heart. In Acts 13:22 God says, “He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” 

So how did God get David’s attention and move him to repent of his sin? He sent a prophet who used a story to get David’s attention. He told king David the story of a rich man who had many flocks and a poor man who had only one sheep whom he loved dearly; in fact, he treated the ewe like one of his children. The rich man had guest come to town and instead of taking one of his own flocks to kill for the guest to eat, he took the poor man’s only lamb and killed it. When David heard this story, he was furious at the injustice of the rich man killing the poor man’s only lamb. The prophet then said, “You are that man!” The prophet went on to say how greatly God had blessed David and had given him so much. In 2 Samuel 12:9 it says “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.”  You see God’s conviction of David was very specific. When God convicts it is always direct leaving a person without doubt what the sinful behavior is. When the enemy condemns, you are not always sure what the offense was, you just believe that you are a dirty rotten sinner. When David was confronted by the prophet with his sin, David immediately repented. In verse 13 it says, “Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” That is repentance. I think this is why David was called a man after God’s Own heart. He owned his guilt, the good kind of guilt, and repented.

When we are convicted by God that conviction will be very specific leaving no doubt what the sinful behavior was. When we repent of the sin, the conviction lifts. When the enemy condemns us, we are not always sure what we have done, we just feel like a dirty rotten sinner. The condemnation does not go away through repentance. Condemnation only goes away by appropriating you new identity as a child of God.

In next week’s podcast we are going to pick up this story of David and look at how he was set up to fall into adultery with Bathsheba.


Thank You Father God Your kind of guilt, conviction, is from the loving heart of a good, good father to motivate up to eliminate sinful behaviors from our lives. Your conviction does not mean that you are mad at us, it means just the opposite that You love us so much that You don’t want us to continue in behavior that is harmful to us and others. Help us to recognize the lies of the enemy that comes in the form of condemnation so that we can live in the freedom of our new identity as children of God. In Jesus Name. Amen

Join us on next week’s Hope Healing and Freedom podcast as we pick up this story of David and see what we can learn about being set up by the enemy to sin. I hope you can join us.

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.