DO WE NEED TO REPENT OF SHARED GUILT?
Guilt can be shared.
Achan stole, in the sin of greed, at Jericho. The whole nation shared his guilt, and were all defeated at Ai:
Joshua 6:17-19 (KJV)
And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
Joshua 7:1-26 (KJV)
1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, ...
5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: ...
6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD...
10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
12 ...neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
25 ... And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
The whole nation had suffered defeat at Ai. The whole family were stoned, and burned with fire. They all shared the guilt. The nation had not prayed prior to going to Ai, as they had before going to Jericho. They could have learned of the sin prior, and had settled the matter before judgment. The family must have known of the crime, and not reported it. Therefore, they shared in the guilt.
The sin of Achan brought the sins of his family that tried to conceal Achan’s sin. The sin of Israel in not seeking the Lord before the venture to Ai, brought a shared guilt to them.
HOW TO ESCAPE SHARED GUILT
1. KEEP A SEPARATION FROM THE SINS OF OTHERS.
God promises that if we come out from amidst the evil ones, we will not have the guilt that keeps His presence from us.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Many want to read the same trash magazines as others. They want to attend the same shameful movies that glorify evil, promote lust, sex, and perversions, and speak blasphemous words about God. Some listen to the dirty jokes of others, and laugh. Some slip in some cuss words so as to not appear ‘too righteous’ to their friends. That is making oneself to share their sins.
To even wish ‘Godspeed’ to a false teacher makes one a ‘partaker of his evil deeds’. The guilt can be shared.
2 John 1:7-11 (KJV)
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
2. OBEY THE WORD OF GOD, FILL YOUR MIND WITH THE WORD OF GOD DAILY. TALK WITH THE AUTHOR (GOD) OF THE WORD. INTERCEDE FOR THE SINS OF OTHERS AS REVEALED IN THE WORD OF GOD. PREACH THE MESSAGES OF THE WORD IN YOUR CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHERS.
To break the guilt we share from other sources, we must obey the Lord’s commands found in the Bible. Stephen spoke to the guilt of the pharisees of that day. They listened, but Stephen was not sharing their guilt. He had preached aright, and in his final moments, he interceded for them, that lifted the shared guilt he would have borne, had he not interceded, nor preached the truth.
Acts 6:8-15 (KJV)
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
Then Stephen preached a great sermon to them about their guilt:
Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
We have been commissioned to do the works of Jesus. We must witness and intercede for the world. If we do that, we do not share the guilt of their sins.
If we do not preach and pray, we do share the guilt of those for whom we should have been preaching and interceding.
Jesus had shown this example. He had preached for three years, had identified sin, and showed the way of salvation. He then interceded for His accusers, and those who had nailed Him to the cross. He had alleviated their guilt from being His guilt. He was taking their guilt, to die for it, not bearing guilt of Himself not having warned them.
Luke 23:32-34 (KJV)
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
We are required to preach to the guilty, or to share in their guilt. We must intercede for them, or share in their guilt.
Ezekiel 3:17-21 (KJV)
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
LESSENING OUR GUILT
We would like to think that the Lord would want to lessen our guilt, make us feel less guilty. His forgiveness of our sins does alleviate guilt from Him about those sins, but He uses guilt to be a guide to us also. For instance, to keep us from ever getting close to ‘murder’, He tells us that to even grow angry at our brother is to be guilty of murder. That makes our anger to then bring guilt for a great sin of murder, and that guilt then makes us avoid even the start of that sin of murder.
Guilt can be a guiding force in our lives. If guilt makes us avoid walking past the bar we once were desirous of entering to get alcohol, then the guilt has achieved a good purpose.
Look at Jesus’ guilt increasing words in Matthew 5:21-22 (KJV):
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
We can live a life with less guilt. We learned this first when we initially repented of our sins, and a feeling of guiltless grace overwhelmed our soul. That forgiveness for our personal sins is indescribably powerful.
The false guilt from the devil then tried to plague our lives, and we, hopefully, have learned to reject that by praising the Lord for His merciful forgiveness every time the devil tries to remind us of our past sins of which we have already repented .
The shared guilt can be like a clinging vine wrapped around our soul. We need to do what makes that guilt lose its power. We preach the Word, and we intercede, and the shared guilt has no plague nature anymore, for it is subservient to the power of the grace of God. God’s Spirit will anoint our lives with ministry to those truly guilty, and our preaching and intercession make us not answerable to Him for guilt. If we hide our message, if we fail to intercede for those in sin, we will share their guilt.
We were commanded to ‘GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD, AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE.’ That commission is a command, and to fail in that command, makes us share the guilt of those around us, for whom we should be interceding and preaching. This does not mean that we preach harsh sermons to those around us. We speak truth, we call sin to be sin. Our vocabulary will be different. Abortion is not ‘choice’, it is murder of the innocent unborn. Homosexuality is not ‘gay’, it is sad perversion. Sinners are not pursuing another way to heaven, they are needing a loving pointing to the Only and One Way to heaven, i.e. Jesus. Our messages must be with the love of God, but we do not condone their sins, by speaking untruths. The Word shows us the truth, the Bible guides us to love and to intercede for souls. Our intercession will lead to loving ways to share God’s way for them to escape their guilt of sin. We will then not be sharing their guilt.