Sunday, August 8, 2021

Searching for Guilt

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

“In those days, at that time,” declares the Lord, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found.” Jeremiah 50:20 NIV

I once searched for snakes…poisonous ones. 

Why searching for snakes as a teenager intrigued me, I’m not sure. Perhaps I wanted to brag to my peers about my dangerous missions. Acceptance, you know. That thing we all look for from the earliest of ages. I certainly didn’t want to find a poisonous snake. I was actually a little scared of snakes. At least, if they saw me before I saw them. 

So, a friend—who was as crazy as I was—and I donned our loose-fitting clothes and boots, shouldered our guns, and set off for swamps and other areas where we likely would encounter those slithering serpents. Fortunately, we never found any, although I have found a number of them when I wasn’t looking. My searches proved fruitless. 

I also remember the time when, as a young lad, I bounced three rubber bouncy balls in my grandmother’s house. The kind once sold from gumball machines that normally perched near the exit of grocery and retail stores. The kind that would catch a young fella’s eye, making him tug at a grandparent’s trouser leg or shirt sleeve and beg for a penny or a nickel which he would then insert into a slot, turn the knob, and relish over what came out. And I bounced all those balls simultaneously and watched them scatter in different directions. I searched my grandparents’ home for days but never found them. 

And then there was my next-to-the-oldest grandson’s fedora. He loved wearing one like his Pop. But somehow, he misplaced it. We searched our house; our daughter searched hers. Nothing. Not until I took the bed apart one day to erect a new bed frame did I find it nestled under the bed. I placed it on one of the headboard poles, knowing he would get it the next time he came. By this time, he had moved eleven hours away to another state. Sure enough, when he visited, he went immediately to the room and snatched up his hat. His search was successful.

Jeremiah wrote to God’s people who at the time lived in Babylonian captivity—far away from their native land. He told them of a day when they would return to their promised land. And when they did, they wouldn’t disobey God anymore. They would have learned their lesson. A search would be made for their guilt, but it would not be discovered. 

One thing I’ve found numerous times is guilt. The thing I feel when I’ve done, said, or thought something I shouldn’t have. Something God has forbidden. But although I’ve found it, I don’t live with it. Feeling guilty over an action or a wrongly spoken word and living with guilt constitute two different things. 

Jeremiah’s good news for Israel is good news for everyone. God has provided the means by which our state of guilt can be removed. Jesus paid for our sins on Calvary’s cross—past, present, and future. When we accept His payment and ask for His forgiveness, we no longer must live in a state of guilt. He removes our condemnation and clothes us in His righteousness. 

Others may reject us, but we no longer have to search for acceptance. God receives us into His family and calls us His children and friends. 

Don’t search for or live with guilt any longer. In Christ, you are accepted and loved. 


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.

1 comment:

  1. Such a good truth. A needed truth. Thank you for sharing this, Martin.