John the Baptist kept telling Herod, ‘It isn’t right for you to marry your brother’s wife!’
So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because of Herod. Herod was afraid of John because he knew that John was a good and holy man, and so he kept him safe. He liked to listen to him, even though he became greatly disturbed every time he heard him. (verses 18-20)
Read Mark 6:14-29
Guilt. Herod was guilty. He had married his brother’s wife. He knew that was wrong before John the Baptist told him. Now he carries the burden of guilt. And what strange behaviour! He is afraid of John because he knows he is a good and holy person. Isn’t that strange? He likes to hear John preach, but he comes away greatly disturbed. How strange!
Guilt can do the same to us. We know what we’ve done wrong, but, like Herod, we lose the courage to correct the situation. We are hot and cold in our attitude to the church, the pastor, the word of God, another devout Christian. We fear what is good and holy. We want to hear the Christian message, but we are upset when we do. Our guilt can make us very critical.
We need to do something. We need to repent. That is the hard part, because it means not only our ‘sorry’; we also need to do something about the people we have hurt. A lot may need mending.
God does forgive both our sins and our guilt for Jesus ‘ sake.
Lord, help those who are guilty to come to you in repentance. And help me to uncover my guilt to you. Amen.
by Ray Schulz, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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