“Now the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time that we are being brought in, that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for slaves with our donkeys.” (Genesis 43:18 NASB)
There is a French proverb which states: “There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.” If a clear conscience brings peace, then a guilty one brings fear, suspicion, and paranoia. This was certainly the case for Joseph’s brothers. Upon finding their money returned to them on their first journey back to Canaan, they respond: “What is this that God has done to us?” (Gen. 42:28). Now, they have been invited to dine at the home of the “Prime Minister” of Egypt — an exceptional honor by anyone’s standards — and what do they think of this? They were afraid and felt that this was a ploy to enslave them! What a peculiar way to respond to what should otherwise be an occasion for celebration.
But harboring guilt in our hearts causes what should be even the happiest and most enjoyable of occasions to fill us with dread and anxiety. A heart pricked by guilt is unable to gratefully accept and fully appreciate the gifts and generosity of others. There is always the notion of an ulterior motive as suspicion torments us to the point where we are reluctant to willingly receive what is freely offered. Guilt prevents us from believing that we are worthy of receiving anything out of the graciousness of another. But praise God that we have a Savior Who has forgiven our sins and will take away the guilt from us if we will let Him. There is no reason for a child of God to harbor guilt in their heart over anything. The Lord Jesus will pardon our sins if we bring them to Him; and if we have wronged another, he will show us how to make it right if we only ask Him. If guilt is tormenting you today, won’t you bring it to the Lord Jesus?