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We all have made mistakes in our past (and even in our present!). There are times we can go back and make amends for those mistakes, but let’s face it, there are times we cannot. It can be easier to accept God’s forgiveness than it is to let go of the guilt and shame we feel ourselves. We wonder “If God has forgiven me, why can’t I forgive myself? Why do I have a difficult time overcoming guilt from past mistakes?”
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How Can I Forgive Myself?
I know in my case, I have an easier time forgiving other people for wrongs done to me than I have forgiving myself for things I may have said or done! I know God has forgiven me and yet I still hold onto guilt and shame.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 103:12:
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” NIV
He forgives us and then CHOOSES to remember our sins no more. They are buried! They are gone! They are erased!
And yet we feel as though some of our sins are just too great and caused too much pain to be able to just release them that easily.
The guilt we feel is so strong that we feel just handing them over to Jesus is somehow getting off easy! We have not been beaten down enough for what we have done! Surely we must endure SOME pain for the ills we have done!!
Michah 7:19 says:
“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” NIV
Overcoming Guilt From Past Mistakes – Where Does Shame Come From?
Shame is what the enemy uses to keep us from experiencing the joy we have in Christ.
If we are feeling shame, we have not fully released our sins to God. We are holding them close, nursing them until the shame grows bigger and looms larger.
What we are actually doing in carrying this guilt is feeling that somehow our own sense of judgment is greater than God’s.
We feel as though we have to satisfy our own sense of reconciliation rather than the reconciliation Jesus has provided.
We believe “It is finished” but not when it comes to the price paid for OUR sins. Instead of overcoming guilt from past mistakes, we carry them around and with them the guilt and shame Jesus died on the cross to remove from us.
God has not only forgiven you of your sins but He has chosen to forget they ever happened! So stop reminding Him of something He has elected to forget!
Stop putting yourself under the burden of sin when Jesus died to free you from it!
Stop believing you can, in any way, have control over your own redemption from it!
Offenses to Others
If you are having trouble overcoming guilt from past mistakes because something you have done has hurt or caused offense to another, ask for forgiveness.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” NIV
Do you hold anything against another? Mark 11:25 tells us:
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” NIV
Keep in mind, these scriptures tell us how to make amends and for US to forgive others. It doesn’t tell us that, when we ask forgiveness of another person, that we will receive it.
If you ask forgiveness and don’t receive it from someone you have caused harm to, you have still done what the Bible tells you to do to make amends.
Overcoming guilt from past mistakes starts with realizing you do not have to carry that guilt around. If they do not forgive, that is between them and God. God will need to work in their hearts. But you have done what you need to do and you can release it to the Lord.
Overcoming Guilt From Past Mistakes – Let God Be God
We do not have control of our redemption. God has given us forgiveness through His Son, Jesus.
We need to let God be God and stop trying to hold on to what He tells us is already paid for.
You do not have to worry about DOING enough to be forgiven. It is not tied to what you do. It is tied to WHO you belong to.
The key to overcoming guilt from past mistakes is to confess your sins, ask forgiveness of those you have hurt, and trust God with the rest!
1 John 1:9:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” NIV
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Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™