Coping With Guilt and Fear
July 18, 2020
(What connection do you think the following illustration has with the Bible texts in Wednesday’s section?)
March 13, 1964. It was well past midnight, a few hours before dawn. Kitty Genovese was returning home from work. As she was about to enter her apartment she was attacked by a man with a knife. “He stabbed me. Please help me! Please help me!” she screamed. Immediately many lights in apartments around her went on. The killer quickly left. But no one came out to help her. A few moments later, the lights went out. The killer returned to finish the job. As soon as she screamed again, the lights came back on and the killer ran. This happened three times. On the third try, the killer finished his job and quietly walked away. During the 35-minute attack, 38 people watched from the safety of their apartments. Not one person came to her rescue. So overcome with their own feelings of fear, they had no sense of moral duty or sensitivity. They sat idle as a fellow human being was brutally murdered. Soon after the Kitty Genovese incident, social scientists began studies that they hoped would explain this “phenomenon.” They concluded that lack of compassion and empathy on the part of the onlookers was owing to feelings of anonymity and being out of touch with other people. Witnesses, in an attempt to justify their inaction, said, “We were afraid,” “I was tired,” “We didn’t want to get involved.” —Taken from New York Times article, March 27, 1964.
Memory Text: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 9, The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ: “In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 115, 116
Read Psalm 27:1.
Poor Richard, thought George. No one likes him, and everyone picks on him. He wondered if Richard felt bullied.
The next day George and his friends went to a festival in the park. There were lots of people, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. George saw a large group of people standing on a hill looking down the other side at a pond. He and his friends went to see what everyone was looking at. At the bottom of the hill next to the pond they saw a group of boys teasing, pushing, and tormenting Richard. Richard would look up at the group of people and call out for someone to help him. But no one did. Put yourself in George’s place. You are watching a group of people terrifying someone unable to defend himself. Watching the attack, you are overcome with feelings of fear, anger over the injustice, and a sense of duty to do something about it. What do you do? Do you step out of the crowd to help? Would you feel guilty for not helping? Would you allow fear to affect your actions? What holds do guilt and fear have on your life?
Read Romans 8:3, 4; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10.
Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer. Every person, other than Jesus, who has ever lived and will ever live on this earth has sinned. And because of our sins we carry guilt, shame and often fear of our sin being found out. But, Jesus has paid the price for our sin. And if we accept His gift of grace, we are forgiven.
How can you let go of any sins you are guilty of hiding?
Answer the questions by unscrambling the words in the second column. Write the answers in the third column. Check your answers by looking up the Bible references. References are from the New King James Version.
|Whom did Jesus die for?||reveohw seveileb ni miH||John 3:16|
|Who has power?||noS fo doG||Romans 3:25|
|The truth about Jesus’ death and life is found where?||eht serutpircS||1 Corinthians 15:3, 4|
|Whom does Christ represent?||eht stiurftsrif fo esoht ohw evah nellaf peelsa||1 Corinthians 15:20-22|
|What was God doing through Christ?||gnilicnocer eht dlrow ot flesmiH||2 Corinthians 5:19|
|What did Christ leave us, and what are we to do?||na elpmaxe, that uoy dluohs wollof siH spets||1 Peter 2:21, 22|
Read Psalm 56:3, 4.
There are 530 recognized phobias in the world. That translates into a lot of scared people. People scared of everything from water to fire to French culture. Maybe you don’t have a huge debilitating phobia, maybe you do. But something everyone feels at times is guilt. Guilt has a way of casting a shadow on our lives.
Guilt and fear have plagued humanity since the beginning. Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden because they felt guilty for what they had done. Abraham lied to Pharaoh because he was afraid he would kill him and take Sarah.
There is only one way to fight these two emotions—trust. Complete trust in Christ. Because only He has the power to forgive and relieve guilt. The Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7, NLT). Use that spirit; don’t hide behind a dark cloud of guilt and fear. Trust God and use the power He has given you.
Match the Bible statement with the correct Bible reference. Bible texts are from the New King James Version.
|A. 2 Timothy 1:7||B. 1 John 1:9||C. Matthew 10:31|
|D. Deuteronomy 20:3, 4||E. Matthew 18:31-35||F. Psalm 103:11, 12|
|1.||“. . . I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. . . .”|
|2.||“. . . He removed our transgressions from us . . .”|
|3.||“. . . for the Lord your God is He who goes with you . . .”|
|4.||“Do not fear therefore . . .”|
|5.||“For God has not given us a spirit of fear . . .”|
|6.||“. . . He is faithful and just to forgive . . .”|
Read Psalm 23.
Review the memory text
As a Christian you know for a fact that God is watching and protecting us at all times. You’ve heard Psalm 23 read again and again. You know forgiveness is freely given to all who ask. Yet feelings of guilt and fear can have such a hold on your life. You hear about a shooting on the news, and all of a sudden you’re scared to leave the house. You mess up once and feel guilty for weeks. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler to simply trust God to protect you? Wouldn’t it be less stressful just to ask for forgiveness? Wish it could be that simple? It is.
Read 1 John 4:18.
Someone came up with the idea of “disposable guilt bags.” All you had to do to get rid of guilt was to place the bag over your mouth, breathe deep, exhale all your guilt into the bag, and throw the bag away! The amazing thing is that 2,500 kits of “disposable guilt bags” sold for $2.50 per kit. Is it possible to dispose of guilt this way? The issue of guilt is huge, and it is not something we can fix by blowing into a bag or doing anything else on our own. It is only through Jesus that we can be forgiven and our guilt removed so we can be clean and new.
Do you feel guilty about something? This week, open your heart to Jesus, your Best Friend. Share your deepest fears with Him. Give your guilt and fears to Jesus.
Unscramble the following Bible verse and answer the following questions. The Scripture passage is from the New International Version.
John perfect not fear has there love the 1 but made fears in do because no love punishment fear 4: who in one love is drives perfect out 18 fear to is
1. What does God not want us to experience?
2. What does fear bring?
3. What drives fear out?
4. Where does perfect love come from?
5. What do you feel God is calling you to do for Him?
6. What can you accomplish for God if you allow Him to remove the fear in your heart?
7. Complete this verse to find out what God has not given us and what He has given us. Choose the correct letter blocks to complete the following words. This verse is found in the King James Version.
“F G h n gi us sp of fe, b of po, and of l, and of a so m” (2 Ti 1:7, KJV).