Which one of us does not look back at our life with some shame and/or regret? Who doesn’t have some skeletons in their closet? The big question is why are we looking backwards? We can’t change the past. We are not assured of tomorrow. We only have the present. How will we live out today? I invite you to read more:
At the end of this month I will be facilitating a two day retreat in a prison. I was blessed to speak in this same prison a year ago. One of the things that I came away with last year from my interactions with these men was their deep sense of regret for the mistakes they had committed.
I have been in the preparation mode for this retreat for some time now. One of the key points that I want to share with these men at this year’s retreat, and with all of you here today is this: while regret for our mistakes can be good if it causes us to change our ways going forward, hanging on too tightly to regret can become a strong tool for Satan. Satan hates God’s mercy towards our sins, and he wants to keep us bound in chains for the things of our past.
Who amongst us doesn’t harbor some regrets for our past misdeeds? The fact remains that no matter what mistakes any of us have made, none of us can go back and rewrite history in order to correct the wrong.
In my writings and in all of my speaking engagements, I acknowledge my own past sins and mistakes. I realize now that it is not the mistakes that really matter but what we do after the mistakes that counts. If we are weighed down and crushed under regret for our past sins, then it becomes very hard to move forward. If on the other hand, we learn and grow from those mistakes and we avoid making them in the future, we have gained wisdom.
Paul states this best in Philippians 3:13-14 when he states: “Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”
If we seek forgiveness with contrite hearts for past mistakes, God offers it through His Son Jesus Christ. After His forgiveness, our sins are as far from God as East is from the West. God wants us to experience joy again.
Paul also gives us hope in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when he tells us: “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” Then after giving us hope he also gives us a challenge. In 2 Corinthians 5:18 he tells us that Christ has given us a ministry of reconciliation. Because of Christ, God does not hold our trespasses against us. We have been entrusted with that same message. We are called to forgive others who trespass against us, but we must also learn to forgive ourselves.
Let’s work at letting go of the past. Let’s live today for Christ. God has a history of calling people Who have made mistakes to do great things in His Kingdom. Here is just a small list:
Samson – Was a womanizer.
Samaritan Woman – Divorced.
Noah – Was a Drunk.
Jacob – Was a cheater.
David – Was an adulterer and a murderer.
Jonah – Ran from God.
Peter – Denied Christ three times.
Martha – Worried too much.
The Disciples – Fell asleep while praying.
Paul – Persecuted Christians before becoming one.
Our history is still being written. Like Paul, let’s look forward to what lies ahead and let’s keep our eyes on the prize of Jesus Christ. Let’s make our history, still to be written, one that will have no regrets!