It is a fairly safe assumption that everyone has things in their past that they certainly regret. A poor decision. A moment of uncontrolled anger. A spiteful outburst. A cruel action. A time of great weakness… or pride… or rebellion…
And for some of us, these regrettable actions have left some serious scars (not to mention the lingering repercussions). Those regrettable things, that were but a few brief moments of time, have turned into enduring “ghosts” that haunt us endlessly.
This makes me aware that, so often, the most difficult person to forgive… is ourself.
We do a decent job of extending grace to others who have hurt us along the way – but when it comes to the source of our greatest hurt, we find a whole different battle is waged. That one person who hurt us the most… stares back at us from the mirror each day. And we have to find a way to live with ourselves, and our regrets, each day.
We find comfort in the fact that Jesus has forgiven us. We are truly thankful that He has paid the price for what WE did. We just wish we could find a way to escape our own stupidity, or condemnation, or regret, or guilt.
The way has been provided!
Part of the wonder and magnificence of God’s plan for us is that He never intended for any of us to have to “go it alone.” It was always His plan for us to be a part of a family – a group of people (just like us) who all have pasts that threaten to expose us for the “frauds” we often feel that we are.
So we are commanded: “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the Law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)
A burden is simply something that is too difficult for us to carry on our own. And for most of us, that burden is easily defined as the weight of our sordid past, that continues to distort our present.
The purpose of the Church, when it comes to believers, is to build up and strengthen one another through the law of Christ. And His law? “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34) What more significant way to demonstrate Jesus’ love than to come alongside someone who is struggling, and carry their burden with them.
So if any of you are weighed down by your past mistakes and regrets, I would just encourage you to find a small gathering of God-loving believers, and when you feel you can trust them, share the burden of your heart. You will probably find that they have similar regrets and hurts that afford you the opportunity to assist them.
That’s how all this Church thing is supposed to work.
It’s very simple: Jesus, in me, loving you. Jesus, in you, loving me.
And when we discover that we are not alone in this great battle, we are likely to find victory over our past, in the core of our hearts…
Prayer Focus: God, help me to find some true Christian friends with whom I can be open about my past… and find victory and freedom in my present.
Pretty sure that I was not able to forgive myself for anything, until I understood that because of Christ, I am already forgiven for everything.
It’s true that the enemy accuser will continually try to throw this back in my face, and sometimes I even start to fall for it, but because of God’s Word, and because of God’s people, and because of God’s presence, I am forever again amazed at God’s Grace.
You are exactly right! Well said. M. A.