End Guilt, Shame & Regret
Guilt and shame has been a topic that has been recycled quite a lot in my life and the lives of people I know. I know there are lots of people who say "I live with no regrets." I wish I could say that but it wouldn't be true. I'm not sure how much of it is a personality thing. Some people just don't dwell on anything for too long. Others of us are dwellers!
I already know what dwelling means but I went to look it up:
-to live in or at a specified place.
-to think, speak, or write at length about
Both of these definitions exactly matches how I've felt when I dwell on something. I feel like I "live" in that feeling and it affects how I think and sort of takes over.
I've read different things about guilt and shame and one thing that really stands out to me is just how easily we are deceived, but how it sure doesn't look like it at the moment.
Satan tempts us with whatever it is (gossip, lust, greed, etc) and holds it out there as bait and says "everyone does it" or "you have every right to vent to your friend" or "you aren't getting what you're worth so it's ok to cheat a little."
So, we take the bait and then once we realize that this isn't the best choice, he mocks us and tells us how stupid we are and what a horrible person we are.
This comes in all different kinds of forms and in all different ways and "levels." Some people justify the behavior and think "I'm not as bad as so-and-so" which sets them up for a big fall. For example, if you think your sin isn't as bad as someone else's sin, you've got some heavy lessons coming soon......you know what they say about pride coming before the fall?
The reason I write this is that all of us, to one degree or another, faces guilt and potentially shame if we realize what our sin does to us and others. Even if you are one of those people who "has no regrets" you still have sin equal to every other sin. We ALL need a Savior.
Once we realize that, though, we have to learn a new way and a new place to Dwell.
The verse that helped me pull out of guilt, shame and regret is:
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
As I memorized this verse, every time I tried to dwell in the past, I said this verse and emphasized "were." That is who I WAS. But because of Jesus, I am: Washed, Sanctified and Justified.
Every time a thought popped in my head that wasn't lined up with God's truth, I would say this verse and I memorized those words and said them repeatedly.
I am washed, sanctified and justified. That means in God's eyes, if I were to go into a court of law, there would be no charges against me. They have disappeared. Gone.
So then why am I reminding myself of them? Somehow I used to think that I couldn't help thinking that way and maybe I thought I was punishing myself so that I'd never repeat that yucky stuff again.
However, there is a point where remorse and repentance needs to turn to joy and living, knowing that the price Jesus paid was enough to cover it all.
I say all of this because so many people carry the weight of regret, guilt and shame. So many people feel like they dwell in that place and they don't realize that they can dwell in a place where there is abundant life.
Jesus price paid it all. Nothing you have done is who you are. You are a new creation AND His mercies are new every morning. That means we continually get a chance to renew our minds in Him every single day.
Some healthy reflection is critical. But we all know when it has become destructive. It is time to dwell on who God says you are. It is time to live in what He came to give you! The best life!
It is for freedom that Christ set us free! Galatians 5:1