Overcoming the guilt of our past
Today, I want to talk to you about overcoming the guilt we encounter as a direct result of our
past mistakes. Guilt is “a strong feeling of distress regarding your words, actions, feelings,
and/or thoughts.” In my opinion, guilt can be summarized as a feeling of remorse or regret
prompted by the things we say, do, or think. The following are three things we can do to help overcome the guilt of our past.
First, we must apologize and try to make amends. In my opinion, every good apology has three key components. We must fully acknowledge and take responsibility for the role we played in creating the conflict, the problem, and/or a disruption of trust. We must exhibit regret for how our actions negatively impacted others. We must also do all we can to make amends. The Bible says in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…” Healed from what? In this case, apologizing and doing what you can to make amends can help to heal you from carrying the heavy load of guilt and shame.
Second, we must learn from our mistakes. In order to learn from our mistakes, we must be
willing to do a self-evaluation after a mistake has occurred in our life. For example, when we
mess up, we must ask ourselves the following three questions. What can I do better next time? What could I have done differently that might have resulted in a better outcome? Who could I have talked to for wise counsel? In fact, Paul said it in this manner in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith...” A thought-provoking self-
examination is always a good idea to help us to learn from our mistakes.
Third, we must forgive ourselves and simply let it go. After you have asked God and the person you hurt to forgive you, then you must forgive yourself. We must be willing to extend the same compassion to ourselves that we extend to others. Proverbs 24:16 (AMP) say it like this, “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again. But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.” Just because you fall doesn’t mean you have to stay down. God is there willing to help you up again.
Yes, the guilt we encounter, most often, is a direct result of our past mistakes. However, we
must apologize and try to make amends. We must become committed to learning from our
mistakes. And, we must learn to forgive ourselves and simply let past mistakes go. When we do these things, we can break free from the heavy load of guilt many of us are now carrying. I leave you today with the encouraging words found in Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”