Do any of your past mistakes still haunt you? I have a few that sure do. Do they play like a movie in your mind, making you cringe every time you remember?
Some of the things that get stuck on repeat in my mind are bad mommy moments, like disciplining out of anger rather than lovingly redirecting, or yelling instead of calmly explaining. Disrespectful things I have said to a friend out of frustration or disagreement. Having a loud and pushy opinion with my husband instead of a gentle and quiet spirit. Times I should have spoken up for the things of God and instead I sat quietly. And, I’m sure we all have things I won’t even mention, because we don’t share those with anyone!
The worst is thinking back to something you’ve done, that there is no way to make right. Maybe you have sexual sin in your past that can’t be undone. The feeling of regret with the kind of parent or spouse you were. Someone you didn’t share Jesus with when you had the chance. These can be heavy, weighty burdens to carry. Especially when the consequences of these decisions are still present.
1 John 1:9 is true when it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” But many times, after I’ve confessed my sin, it comes back to my mind. I still feel the guilt and shame of the pain I have caused or the mess I have made with my choices.
So how can we live in victory and freedom over mistakes that still haunt us?
Moving Beyond Past Regret~
1. Since we do believe 1 John 1:9 (above) let’s start there by asking God for His forgiveness. Read Psalm 51 to see what true repentance looks like. David wrote this after he had committed adultery and then had the woman’s husband killed. He had sinned, and he couldn’t go back and fix it. When the Lord helped David see his sin, David was devastated. He was truly repentant with everything he had.
2. Choose to believe God, when He tells you, that you are forgiven. Psalm 103:8-12 says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Praise God!
3. Is there someone you need to ask for forgiveness? As mentioned in the above scenarios, I can’t count the number of times I have had to go to my children and tell them that I was wrong for the way I responded to them, for raising my voice, for being unfair, for being selfish and ask them to forgive me. At first I was embarrassed that I was having to apologize to them. Me, the mom, the one who was supposed to be teaching them. But along the way, I realized in doing this, I was teaching them that I wasn’t perfect and didn’t expect them to be. And teaching them that when they are wrong, to admit it and repent. I’ve had to go back to friends many times, and apologize for sharing gossip or for unkind words I said to them. The Lord has also led me to reach back out to old friends that I didn’t share Him with, and tell them the Good News of the Gospel.
4. Forgive yourself! This may take some time because Satan is good at throwing mistakes back in your face. You may have to do this more than once. Anytime it comes back to your mind, remind yourself that God has already forgiven you and choose to forgive yourself again.
5. Give yourself permission to start new. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning!”
Do you wish you would have been a different kind of parent? Even if your child is grown, start now by making amends. Choose to be a godly grandparent. Find a way to serve the Lord at your church. He has uniquely gifted you to serve Him. Don’t let shame keep you from it!
Do you have sexual sin that you regret? Maybe sex outside of marriage or even an affair in your marriage. If you haven’t already, stop now! When we confess to God, He purifies us. Let Him cleanse you of this sin. If an affair is involved, seek a wise counselor to walk you through steps to restoration.
Colossians 1 tells us that “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation- if you continue in your faith, established and firm and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”
Friends, Satan wants nothing more that to disqualify you from serving God, sharing Jesus, and living in victory by using your past against you. God wants to restore you to Himself and use your life to bring glory to Himself!
Seek help if you can’t get to this place on your own. But don’t let the devil have victory in your life!!!