Proverbs 28:13-14 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Feelings of guilt that are repressed can produce havoc in a person’s life. It is no wonder that many religions try to create a system to relieve people of this sense of guilt and shame for sins committed and deeds left undone. Feelings of guilt cannot be removed by some magical practice or “ten steps” to freedom. No, this proverb gives an answer to this dilemma in people.
Feelings of guilt flow from a violation of God’s moral law. As in science, if you violate the law of gravity by thinking you can fly off the roof of your house you get terribly injured or even die. So it is with God’s moral laws. If you steal, there is a consequence. If the theft is left undone you will suffer a measure of guilty feelings. If you commit adultery in body or mind, you will suffer a moral consequence. We are made in God’s image. Our conscience is proof of this moral law knit into our fabric as humans. If a moral law is broken then the consequence of guilt or shame will be realized in some measure.
Such violations can only be remedied by God. It is His law that has been broken. He is the One offended or violated by your sin, first and foremost. Yes, others are hurt or violated. But the remedy begins with your confession of sin to God. But it doesn’t stop there. The wise will confess and renounce or forsake the sinful action. Mercy is extended first by God to the person who truly repents and turns from his sinfulness.
A healthy understanding of the nature of sin and folly entails the person having a healthy fear, or respect, for God and His standards. Relief from guilt and shame begins with your turning first to God then to the one you sinned against in this world. It doesn't work any other way.