Guilt and Regret — Not Friends of Mine

29 07 2013

I’m going to ask a question that I already know the answer to. But I’m going to ask it anyway. Has anyone ever messed up? I mean really, really bad? I thought so. We all have. So…how did that make you feel? Yeah, I know the answer to that one too. Not all that good, huh? It didn’t make me feel too great either.

Recently I made a mistake. That mistake had the potential to do some pretty big damage. Fortunately the people involved are loving, kind, and forgiving. But it still weighed on my mind and heart. How could I have done that? Why did I ignore the situation? Why didn’t I just take care of it earlier? Do any of these questions sound familiar? I would wager that they do. And they all have one thing in common. Guilt. We feel guilty for the mistakes that we make.

jail cellGuilt is an interesting thing. It easily locks us up in the prison of ‘If Only.’ If only I had made a different decision. If only I hadn’t done that one thing. It’s a lonely place…the prison of ‘If Only.’ And guilt never comes alone. It always brings a friend. “Let me introduce you to someone,” says guilt. “This is regret.” “Don’t you feel bad,” hisses regret. “You should have known better. But you can’t go back and change it.” And they go on and on making us feel worse and worse about the mistake we made. And we retreat deeper and deeper into the prison. Willingly walking through the halls into solitary confinement. And we shut the door ourselves.

But is there a way to avoid being imprisoned? There sure is! While it’s a hard thing to battle we must understand that guilt and regret can only work on us if we let them. We step into the cell. We stay in prison. I’m not saying that we need to ignore issues that need to be dealt with. But once they are…move on. It’s done and no good can come from beating ourselves up over past mistakes.

A reason that guilt and regret are so devastating in us is that they keep us from moving forward. They anchor us to past mistakes by making us relive them over and over. This causes us to stop being effective in life because our focus is now on something that we can’t change.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18 — NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 — NIV)”

If it’s done, understand that it’s done. We can’t change the mistake…we can only learn from it and move on. Life will be full of mistakes and missteps. But we don’t have to condemn ourselves for past mistakes. God doesn’t. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1 — NIV)”

So…if you’re an inmate imprisoned by guilt and regret for a past mistake, I challenge you to walk out of that cell. They can’t hold you there. And staying in jail only hurts you. It’s time to set yourself free. Your sentence has been overturned.





4 responses

29 07 2013

But, an inmate must ask for parole before his sentence is commuted. God bless!

29 07 2013

True. But the great thing about this is that we need only ask God. And since the penalty is already paid through Christ it’s always granted.

29 07 2013
"Working for Christ"

Excellent reminder! Take care. 🙂 Dave

29 07 2013

Thanks Dave. Have a great day. In His Service, Jeff

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