Scripture: Genesis 42

Unacknowledged guilt can cripple people and cause them to stop functioning completely. This morning as we continue our Genesis Origins series with the Life of Joseph in chapter 42 we will see how guilt and consequences affected a family and prepared them for future reconciliation. Turn with me to Genesis 42 and follow along as I read this passage in sections.

We will see a number of motives for thoughts and actions in this chapter. It’s important to recognize how what we are thinking or feeling affects the way we act and what we say. Is it the truth or just a feeling? Healthy fear comes from a viable threat. Sinful fear is a result of not trusting God.

When is it right to say “I told you so”? Never. This is an issue of pride. Belittling someone when you were right and they were wrong is sin. Proverbs 27:2 says “Let another praise you and not your own mouth.”

GUILT – The brothers acknowledge their sin. This was real legitimate guilt over their past sins against Joseph. They rehearsed what they did wrong and acknowledge that they were now facing the consequences.

We hear people say often “don’t feel guilty, it’s OK.” But godly guilt leads to repentance. I will talk more about that later.


Through Joseph, God was testing the sons of Jacob. They were the future tribes of Israel, and God was showing them their sin and the consequences of disobeying Him. God may allow you to face trials in order to test and grow your faith and be changed to be more like Christ. That often means uncomfortable recognition of our sin and our true motives. Ask God to help you understand what is happening and how you should respond.


There are consequences for our actions. God judges sin and penalty is death. (Rom 6:23). Jesus Christ died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3). God forgives our sins when we confess (1 John 1:9).

What is guilt?

  • It is a legal term that implies criminal responsibility in the eyes of a court of law.
  • It is a liability or admission of wrong action requiring punishment for wrong-doing.

What is God’s Answer?

  1. Acknowledge it to yourself. (own it)

Saying you have no sin, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:5-8)

  1. Confess your sin to God (say the same thing about our sin that God says)

If we Confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9)

  • Unsaved = Stand before Judge confession of wrong (Rom. 10:3-10)
  • Saved = Go to loving Father – Parental seeking forgiveness (1 John 1:9-2:2)
  1. Confess it to appropriate people

Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)

e.g. “God convicted me of how wrong I was when I… I know I sinned not only against God but also against you. Would you please forgive me?” (3 x if necessary)

  1. Make restitution (repay 4 x)

Examples in OT and NT – Zacchaeus (Luke 15:11-32)

  1. Change (repent) your thinking

Dead to sins and alive in Christ. Set your mind on things above (Col. 3:1-3)

The greatest consequence of guilt is eternal separation from God. Because of His perfect holiness, sinners like you and me cannot be right with God.

If I asked you right now “Are you a Christian?” many of you might quickly say “Yes, I believe in God and Jesus. I’m here aren’t I?” We can’t do enough good deeds or give enough money to pay for our own sins. Only the perfect sacrifice – Jesus’ blood – can pay the price. My next question is “Have you ever confessed your sin to God, acknowledged there is nothing that you alone can do about it, and asked Him to save you by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son?” What would you answer be?

Romans 10:9-10 say… Confess with your mouth and believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.

Being a Christian (a follower of Jesus Christ) does not mean you simply believe in God and Jesus. James 2:9 tells us that even the demons believe and they shudder.

Phil. 2:9 says every knee will bow to Jesus and every tongue will confess Him as Lord. If you don’t confess your sin to God and accept His gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ here on earth, then you will eventually face Him as your judge when you stand before His throne. The punishment is hell and eternal separation from God – and all that is righteous and true.

If you want to be sure of your salvation, please come talk to me.

Believers, rejoice! When you confessed your sin and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior, your record of sin and guilt was wiped clean – God no longer holds your sin against you. But do you have unconfessed sin you need to deal with? Did any of the wrong motives we saw in today’s Scripture sound familiar? Bitterness, anger, lying, trying to guilt others to act the way you want, hiding the truth, being that “I told you so” guy, overreacting with outrageous language.

You need to own your sin, confess it to God, then to the person you sinned against, make restitution, and ultimately change your thinking. If we don’t address the motives in our hearts and change our thinking – we will keep doing the same things over and over. Our Growth Groups will talk have more discussion on this important topic in the upcoming week.

If you want to talk to a counselor about your Christian growth and struggles you are facing, pick up a brochure at the Welcome Center and we can schedule a time to meet.

We are not meant to go through this journey alone. Life is hard but Jesus created the church as a body of believers to help each other – to encourage and lovingly correct each other. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to offer it.