We all make mistakes. And all of us have regrets. I’ve hurt people, not even realizing the extent of my wrongs until many years later. I am a kind and loving person, but that hasn’t kept me from making bad choices that affected other people. I am truly humbled when I look back at my younger years and see the wreckage I’ve been responsible for.
The weight of guilt is very heavy. It’s a ball and chain. When I was younger, it was easier for me to distract myself from uncomfortable truths. I was on to the next thing. I didn’t understand the pain I caused, and I wasn’t honest with myself about how it must have felt to be on the receiving end. I didn’t truly see the other side until years later, and then I felt very guilty.
Before I knew God, there was nothing I could do about my guilt except live with it. It wasn’t until I confessed my sins to God and asked Him to come into my life that I felt forgiveness. God knew everything I had done, and yet He still welcomed me. He knew every embarassing, tawdry detail and He still loved me.
God’s love is durable. God is strong enough to know the dirty truth and not turn away. He is loving enough to love me despite the unlovely things I’ve done. I’ve been a saved Christian since 2001. Over the years, God has revealed important truths to me about how my behavior has affected other people. He does it gently, with love, and He invites me to ask for forgiveness. There is no better remedy for guilt than the forgiveness of God.
In John Chapter 8, verses 3-12, it is written: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away, one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” [NIV Bible]
Even when we make big mistakes, God has mercy on us. Our part is to confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness. We can’t always make it right with the people we’ve hurt. Sometimes they won’t forgive us or even hear us out. Other times we can’t approach them with our apologies because it would cause distress for them or their families. But we can always bring our guilt to God, and we can feel the relief of knowing that He knows that we’re sorry.