Driven by guilt
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. (Psalm 51:1-4)
How is it that we don't always make a beeline to God when we sin? There are excuses uttered - thinking we can somehow justify our offense as though it were impossible for us to have resisted the temptation. We find ourselves turning this way or that, in hopes of not encountering God over the issue, but find ourselves feeling the guilt 'prick' at us like thorns on a rosebush. I don't think we intended to give into the temptation, and we don't really think the excuses or 'running' will keep us away from dealing with the sin, but we respond this way for some inexplicable reason. Guilt is that 'pin prick' in our conscience that should cause us to run TOWARD restoration, not AWAY from it!
David never said he was sinless - in fact, he recognized his sin and that also made him realize his need for confession, repentance, and restoration. Confession is the admission of guilt - repentance is the action one takes to turn away from the actions of sin. Put together, we find ourselves in a place where restoration can actually happen. David showed us that when we 'do wrong', we need to be quick to admit it. That admission may be to God alone, or it could be we need to go to another to admit our 'wrongdoing' to them (because they were affected by our wrongdoing). There is something quite humbling in admitting we were wrong, isn't there? Could it be that repentance actually begins when we put down our pride and humble ourselves enough to seek forgiveness?
There are times when our sin involves us and God - others haven't been involved. We find ourselves taking actions - thinking about things in a way that we shouldn't - all without involving another in those actions or thoughts. Be humble enough to admit your sinfulness the first time you feel the 'pinprick' of guilt and you will save yourself a whole lot of 'guilt-ridden anxiety' over the matter at hand! There are no greater words we can utter than "have mercy on me". There is no better place to find healing for our sin-sick hearts and minds than at the feet of Jesus. Guilt might drive us there, but grace helps us get up again and move beyond the guilt. Just sayin!