Read Genesis 44
Focus on verse 16
How many years has it been since Joseph was betrayed by his brothers? Perhaps 20 or 30 years and yet the guilt they feel has apparently not abated. One can imagine that quite possibly every time something bad would happen in the family at least Judah, if not all the older brothers may have thought to themselves… “this is God’s punishment upon us for what we did to Joseph”.
And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” (v. 16)
When Judah offers himself in the place of Benjamin Joseph begins to see that the attitude of the brothers may have changed, and that there is some evidence of remorse for what they had done to Joseph.
Guilt can be like that, especially when it is “good” guilt. Good guilt is the guilt we feel when we become aware that we have disobeyed God and we feel the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Good guilt draws us toward God and brings us to repentance. There is another kind of guilt that is not good. It is the guilt the enemy heaps upon us for sins that have long been forgiven and forgotten, or in some cases even a false guilt for something we are really not guilty of. In either of these cases it causes us to want to hide from God. It makes us feel shameful and unworthy of grace. This kind of guilt destroys our lives and robs us of our joy and freedom.