Are you living with regret? All of us have made mistakes at one point or another, and they haunt us. How is the abundant life possible with that on our hearts?
It isn’t. But we can change that!
We don’t have to be weighed down by our past blunders. We have a great God who forgives us for even the worst of sins. The apostle Paul, a murderer of many Christians before his Damascus road conversion, said to Timothy:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Tim 1:15-16)*
Here are 10 tips in removing the grip of your past:
1. Accept the fact that you cannot change the past.
It’s water under the bridge.
2. Admit your mistakes; own up to your sin.
Making excuses and justifying your actions prevent moving forward. Even if it was an honest mistake take ownership.
3. Have a godly sorrow for your sin
Understanding how grievous your behavior was, is the next step to freedom. Your sin/my sin hurts God’s heart.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret…. (2 Cor 7:10)*
That is, turn and go in the other direction; change your behavior. Remorse is only the beginning. A change in heart attitude and behavior always follows genuine godly sorrow.
5. Accept God’s full forgiveness (Ps 103:12).
God remove’s our shame/guilt as well as our sins (Is 6:5-6).
6. Ask for forgiveness from anybody affected by your wrongdoing.
7. Commit to living rightly from this day forward.
8. Change your thinking.
Often we have trouble moving forward because we’re stuck on why we acted as we did. Actions always follow thought patterns. Wrong thinking about God, others, or ourselves leads to wrong behavior. Prayerfully ask the Lord to help you get to the root of the issue. The Lord wants to renew your mind with His powerful Word, let Him. Do your part by reading, meditating, and applying God’s truths to replace that wrong way of thinking with His freeing truths.
9. Turn it around.
Utilize the sadness of the past to:
- Learn from your mistakes and not waste the pain.
- Keep you committed in staying on track.
- Motivate you to persevere and make the most of every opportunity from now on (Ep 5:15-17).
- Warn others so they won’t make the same mistakes.
- Give you a heart of gratitude for God’s incredible mercy and another chance.
10. Trust God to redeem what was lost.
God can work all things together for good—even this.
“I will give you back what you lost to the…locusts….” (Joel 2:25)**
Stop living under the bondage of “If only I….” Choose to say goodbye to regrets and hello to the abundant life filled with future significance and productivity.
Use your past mistakes to propel you forward into productivity, instead of projecting you backward into futility!
*THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.
**New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.