Pastor referred to Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” during Sunday’s sermon, “The Blessings of True Forgiveness.” Just as Pastor, I read that in school and haven’t paid attention to it since – but I, too, remembered it as an excellent description of guilt. I’ve been told some people never feel guilt, believing all their actions beyond reproach. I know that not all of mine have been.
There are times we “pack our own bags for a guilt trip” when we shouldn’t, as when guilt is used as a verb: make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something. However, no one I know can remain guilt free when it comes to using the word as a noun: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.
As Paul quoted Isaiah 41:26:
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:9-10 KJV)
We have all committed an offense. Come one, you can think of one right now!
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 KJV)
But that wasn’t the focus of Pastor’s sermon. He took us to Psalm 32, a song of King David that was an instruction, intended to give moral teaching to improve perceptions. That’s what the source word for Maschil means.
A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalms 32:1 KJV)
David’s description of his feelings are as much physical as emotional:
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. (Psalms 32:3-4 KJV)
David knew all about confessing sin. We are told of the sin and its consequences in 2 Samuel 11:1 – 2 Samuel 12:12. And, David’s confession:
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (2 Samuel 12:13 KJV)
Psalm 51 tells of this, too, including his confession to the Lord:
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:4 KJV)
As a Junior Choir member at Immanuel Baptist Church in Tulsa, I learned this as a song, remembering it as I think of my own errors and God’s ability to forgive:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalms 51:10-12 KJV)
Guiltless? Only through God’s forgiving grace. For that, I am eternally thankful.