Tag Archives: guilt

A Tell-Tale Heart

Proverbs 28:17

“A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.”

The Tell-Tale Heart

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a story over a century and half ago called “The Tell-Tale Heart” in which the narrator murders a man, dismembers the body, and hides it under the floor. Eventually the guilt of his crime gets to him, and he thinks he hears the beating heart of the man under the floor. It drives him to confess his wrong.

He could not live with the guilt.

The Traitor

In the New Testament we read of Jesus’ traitorous Apostle, Judas Iscariot. He helped the religious leaders arrest, and ultimately kill, Jesus. In his grief and guilt, he committed suicide. (See Matthew 27)

He knew he had killed Jesus, and he could not live with the guilt.

What About Us?

Are these stories and this verse telling us we should just let people get in trouble or even go to Hell?

Sort of.

The real warning for us is to watch ourselves when confronted with those with a guilty conscience. In the effort to try to help save them, we might find ourselves entangled in their problems.

We could get dragged into the results of their guilt, at worst by finding ourselves on the way to prison or the grave (think of those who inadvertently find themselves blamed for or involved with a crime).

If you offer advice to someone, and they seem intent on their path, sometimes it is better to let them go.

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Acts 18:5-6, NIV

Those who do not know Christ as Savior are still living in the guilt of their sin, and if they refuse to turn to Him are on the way to the grave. If they begin to cause us to stumble in our faith, we must get out of their path toward death. We will only join in their suffering.

Dear Savior, give us the wisdom to deal with our fallen world and those who are lost in their guilt. Give us the wisdom to know when to help and when to get out of the way.

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Paranoid?

Proverbs 21:8

“The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.”
“The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is upright.” ESV

Paranoid?

Have you ever known someone who was paranoid? People who suffer from paranoia exhibit irrational, unwarranted fears that others are out to get them. They act evasive, stealthy, and cautious. For example, some people wear aluminum caps on their heads in order to keep space aliens from reading their minds. Little do they realize space aliens have better things to do.

foil hatBut…one is only paranoid if his fears are unfounded. It’s not paranoia if someone’s really out to get you. Those who were afraid to use cell phones because the government might be listening aren’t considered paranoid anymore, are they?

Dodging

Some people may act a little paranoid, but they could have real reasons to fear. The one who is running from the law is always the one dodging and swerving, constantly on the lookout for blue lights and unmarked cars.

I used to know a guy who never drove on main roads. Every time he went anywhere he always took back roads, “short cuts”, and scenic routes. The reason was because his driver’s license had been revoked. He wanted to stay off the main roads because he knew the police were after him. He was not paranoid; he was guilty.

The man being described in this proverb has something to hide. He moves in “forward and strange” ways, not because he is crazy, but because he is trying to avoid being caught. His evasiveness is a dead giveaway.

In the Open

The guilty are always sneaking, shifting, and dodging in and out of arguments, discussions, responsibilities, and obligations. The pure of heart, however, are predictable and straight, never having to fear being found out. They know that God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12), so they have nothing to hide.

It is so much better to live in righteousness. Doing what is right allows one to take the main roads, the straight roads, and the visible-to-all roads.

“Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” – Daniel 12:10 ESV

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8 ESV

Walk in grace and truth and it won’t matter who’s looking over your shoulder.


A Tell-Tale Heart

Proverbs 28:17

17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a story over a century and half ago called “The Tell-Tale Heart” in which the narrator murders a man, dismembers the body, and hides it under the floor. Eventually the guilt of his crime gets to him, and he thinks he hears the beating heart of the man under the floor. It drives him to confess his wrong.

He could not live with the guilt.

The Traitor

In the New Testament we read of Jesus’ traitorous Apostle, Judas Iscariot. He helped the religious leaders arrest, and ultimately kill, Jesus. In his grief and guilt, he committed suicide. (See Matthew 27)

He knew he had killed Jesus, and he could not live with the guilt.

What About Us?

Are these stories and this verse telling us we should just let people get in trouble or even go to Hell?

Sort of.

The real warning for us is to watch ourselves when confronted with those with a guilty conscience. In the effort to try to help save them, we might find ourselves entangled in their problems.

We could get dragged into the results of their guilt, at worst by finding ourselves on the way to prison or the grave (think of those who inadvertently find themselves blamed for or involved with a crime).

If you offer advice to someone, and they seem intent on their path, sometimes it is better to let them go.

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Acts 18:5-6, NIV

Those who do not know Christ as Savior are still living in the guilt of their sin, and if they refuse to turn to Him are on the way to the grave. If they begin to cause us to stumble in our faith, we must get out of their path toward death. We will only join in their suffering.

Dear Savior, give us the wisdom to deal with our fallen world and those who are lost in their guilt. Give us the wisdom to know when to help and when to get out of the way.


Paranoid?

Proverbs 21:8

“The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.”
“The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is upright.” ESV

Paranoid?

Have you ever known someone who was paranoid? People who suffer from paranoia exhibit irrational, unwarranted fears that others are out to get them. They act evasive, stealthy, and cautious. For example, some people wear aluminum caps on their heads in order to keep space aliens from reading their minds. Little do they realize space aliens have better things to do.

foil hatBut…one is only paranoid if his fears are unfounded. It’s not paranoia if someone’s really out to get you. Those who were afraid to use cell phones because the government might be listening aren’t considered paranoid anymore, are they?

Dodging

Some people may act a little paranoid, but they could have real reasons to fear. The one who is running from the law is always the one dodging and swerving, constantly on the lookout for blue lights and unmarked cars.

I used to know a guy who never drove on main roads. Every time he went anywhere he always took back roads, “short cuts”, and scenic routes. The reason was because his driver’s license had been revoked. He wanted to stay off the main roads because he knew the police were after him. He was not paranoid; he was guilty.

The man being described in this proverb has something to hide. He moves in “forward and strange” ways, not because he is crazy, but because he is trying to avoid being caught. His evasiveness is a dead giveaway.

In the Open

The guilty are always sneaking, shifting, and dodging in and out of arguments, discussions, responsibilities, and obligations. The pure of heart, however, are predictable and straight, never having to fear being found out. They know that God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12), so they have nothing to hide.

It is so much better to live in righteousness. Doing what is right allows one to take the main roads, the straight roads, and the visible-to-all roads.

“Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” – Daniel 12:10 ESV

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8 ESV