I don’t know about you guys, but I am a wallower.
Whenever I make a mistake, I will beat myself up for hours or even days. Conviction hits me hard. It’s really probably one of my most annoying qualities. All my friends have told me to never, ever wake them up before 9 am. Whenever I am feeling guilty of something, I always have to confess in the early hours of the morning. The Holy Spirit convicts us after we have sinned and that is a good thing: it keeps us in check and makes us continue to walk with God when we’ve strayed. But here’s the thing: we don’t have to feel guilty after we have repented or turned away from our sin. I want to share some truth with you that I need constant reminding of also.
1. YOU ARE SET FREE IN CHRIST
Jesus’ blood has covered you. You are set free from the bondage of sin. You don’t have to continue berating yourself after you have confessed and repented of your sin. Let it go and focus on how you can live your life to honor God instead of analyzing your past mistakes. Dwelling on your past mistakes doesn’t do you any good and it actually minimizes Jesus’ death and resurrection in your mind. Believe that the cross is bigger than your sin, because it is. Once you repent, keep your eyes focused onward and upward. Don’t live in the guilt and shame of your past mistakes, Christ has covered you sister!
2. REMEMBER THAT GOD USES SINNERS
Whenever I open up Psalms, I thank God that He used David. If you are not familiar with his story, David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) who messed up royally. He committed adultery and then murdered to cover up his sin. I know God used someone like David on purpose: to show us that God can use anyone. God uses sinners and even sinners like David can still have a heart after God. It’s more about God’s grace and glory than it is about us anyway-God loves to work through broken and messed up people just like us.
3. WE’RE ONLY HUMAN
One thing to remember is that we’re all on this life journey together. No matter how godly or perfect someone may seem, every single one of us messes up. Everyone has fallen short of God’s grace. There is nothing we can ever do to deserve it. We will make mistakes, even if we are trying with everything we have to walk with the Lord. We are imperfect people.
4. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
It’s important to recognize when you’ve messed up and make changes. I know in college, I literally made the same mistakes over and over again. I kept on messing up and then running to God because I felt convicted. Once you’ve made a mistake, put up barriers to help you not make that same mistake. Ask a trusted friend who loves the Lord to hold you accountable to remind you of the power of the gospel. Let your conviction teach you. Remember-God calls us to repentance through kindness-not shame or guilt.
5. GUILT ISN’T ALWAYS HEALTHY
There is a natural conviction that you should feel after you have stepped outside of God’s will. That conviction brings you back to Him and makes you change. But if you have confessed and repented from your sin, then the enemy might be using your guilt as a weapon. I know when I have really messed up, little thoughts creep into my mind and tell me that I am not worthy of God’s love or make me doubt my calling.
These are lies.
God can handle any sin you throw His way. And the cross has already covered it.
It doesn’t matter how huge it is.
He can handle it.
Recognize these lies from the enemy and remind yourself of Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Whenever you feel guilt about a past sin, remember that you are forgiven.
We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. The Holy Spirit will use conviction bring us back to Him. But once you have confessed and repented, don’t continue beating yourself up over a past sin you can’t change.
Instead, look to the future.
See how God can use those past mistakes to bring him glory. You are not tethered to that sin anymore because you are set free in Christ. His blood has completely redeemed you! I am unbelievably thankful for that freedom we have in Christ.