Personal baggage is a terrible thing to carry around. The sad thing is too many carry theirs around for a lifetime, never seeking remedy, relief or restoration. Guilt - real or imagined or created out of thin air - is a heavy burden. It not only destroys your joy, but is the devil's ploy to keep God's Children down.
We, who are followers and disciples of the Lord Jesus, are on a journey and like any good traveler, we must check our baggage in before we get on that flight. No good airline will allow a passenger to bring a huge fifty pound suitcase unto an aircraft...of any size. There is simply, first, no place to store that big bag and secondly it would not fair to the other passengers.
So what are we do do, when the believer actually has a past which has never been confessed or dealt with, and the guilt of the sinful act(s) are just eating away inside. Well, the next portion of Psalm 32, clearly shows us what happened when the man of God - David - covered up his sin for two years....that is, until God sent His prophet Nathan, to bust him.
We read, from Psalm 32:
3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Verses 3 and 4 tells us exactly what happens when a person lives with sin and shame, covered over with a blanket, on the inside.
- It affects the person physically. Things may appear nice and healthy on the outside, but like the whitewashed tombs which Jesus spoke about, on the inside, things ain't right.
- The psalmist David said there was "groaning all day long". So even if all is well in every day life, and the job is getting down. The person seems to be accomplishing things at her job or in his particular role, but there is not peace inside. Apart from the physical internal decline, now the emotions are in play.
- When verse 4 proclaims that the "Hand of the Lord was heavy", this denotes the conscience. The Lord has written His Law on EVERY single spiritual heart of every single human who was ever been or will be born. This is our conscience. We instinctively know when we have done wrong - either to God or to another person. If a person is saved, the Holy Spirit immediately convicts us of our sin, which as we saw earlier, is missing the mark.
Everyone can confirm these three symptoms of guilt and baggage in each of our lives in the past, until we made it right. Guilt and baggage affects the person physically, emotionally and spiritually. We learn of this from Psalm 32:3-4 and from personal experience.
The remedy is verse 5! Here is how the sinner got his joy back and how anyone who has fallen short before God, or before a loved one, or even more intense - offended a person whom you do not even like, can be made completely whole. This is the ONLY way to live the Joyful Christian Life. Look at verse 5:
- He not only acknowledge the general umbrella of sin, which his actions fell under, but he acknowledged getting busted, did not say "the devil made me do it" or some such "playing the victim". He own his actions. But he went even further and laid his soul and entire person before the Lord.
- He got detailed about his sin. Getting specific about what the actions committed against God and another person are, are KEY to full restoration. Iniquity is worse than just saying a bad word, shouting at someone, or posting something mean on social media. Iniquity violates God's High Moral Standards. We Christians know better than to do that, and if we ever "go there", it would serve us well to uncover it before God and if it is against another person - then, seek immediate forgiveness.
- Certain sins break ALL God's Commandments. As the Book of James tells us, when we break one commandment, we break them all, since the Law of God is like a chain. Outright rebellion against God is knowing that having that affair is dead wrong, but doing it anyway, because it's more about you than God. It is knowing that getting into that automobile drunk is stupid or cheating on your taxes etc. Even disobeying a command of God. Rebellion against God is NOT wise and can cause a temporary break between a person and her/his family and definitely, against God.
The good news is the Love, Grace, Mercy and Compassion of our Great God in Heaven can, has and will forgive all of this and lead us to full restoration.