To begin with, everyone has sinned, and one result of sin is guilt. Thankfully, guilty feelings drive us to seek forgiveness. The moment a person turns from sin to Jesus Christ in faith, his sin is forgiven. Repentance is part of the faith that leads to salvation (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Acts 3:19).
Being free from sin, does not mean freedom from guilty feelings. Even when our sins are forgiven, we still remember them.
We also have an enemy, called “the accuser of our brothers” (Revelation 12:10) who relentlessly reminds us of our failures, faults, and sins. When a Christian experiences feelings of guilt, he or she should do the following things:
1) Confess all sins. It is normal to feel guilty because confession is needed. Many times, we feel guilty due to unconfessed sins. (Psalm 32:3-5.)
2) Ask the Lord to reveal any other sin that may need confession. Be open and honest before the Lord. You can make the declarations in (Psalm 139:23-24).
3) Seek to make restitution, where possible, of the sins committed against others. Zacchaeus, in repenting of his sin, promised the Lord, “If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8). This is part of the “fruit in keeping with repentance” that John preached (Luke 3:9).
4) Trust the promise of God that He will forgive sin and remove guilt, based on the blood of Christ (1 John 1:9; Psalm 85:2; 86:5; Romans 8:1).
5) On occasions when guilty feelings arise over sins already confessed and forsaken, reject such feelings as false guilt. The Lord has been true to His promise to forgive. Read and meditate on Psalm 103:8-12.
6) Rebuke Satan and ask the Lord to restore the joy that comes with freedom from guilt (Psalm 51:12).
Psalm 32 is a very profitable study. Although David had sinned terribly, he found freedom from both sin and guilty feelings. He dealt with the cause of guilt and the reality of forgiveness. Psalm 51 is another good passage to investigate. The emphasis here is confession of sin, as David pleads with God from a heart full of guilt and sorrow. Restoration and joy are the results.