“We all make mistakes.” That phrase has been around for years, and it is certainly true. Equally true is the fact that most of us really hate making mistakes, doing things wrong, or causing problems. Many times, the guilt we feel over our mistakes is much worse than the mistakes themselves. We should of course be sorry when we do wrong, and we should always repent, which means to be willing to turn away from the sin and begin doing what is right with God’s help. We may even need a brief time of grieving over very serious mistakes. But we are not supposed to hate ourselves, reject ourselves, and feel guilty and ashamed for days and weeks on end when we sin or make mistakes. We may feel convicted of sin when we do something wrong, but we should not experience condemnation. We are supposed to receive the forgiveness God freely offers us and go on with our lives, constantly seeking to know God better and better.
The Apostle Paul had plenty of reasons to feel guilty. He’s persecuted and killed many Christians before he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and began to follow Him. In Romans 8:1, this man who knew what it means to be both guilty and free of guilt writes: “Therefore, (there is) now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live (and) walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.”
Human nature causes us to feel condemned when we make mistakes, and no one likes feelings of condemnation. Many people I know want to do everything right, but that isn’t going to happen as long as we’re in bodies of flesh. If we could be perfect in our behavior, we wouldn’t need God and we would miss out on the enjoyment and blessings of a relationship with Him. Jesus died for us because we could not be good enough on our own to enjoy a relationship with God who is completely holy.
Sometimes, because we feel guilty over our sins or mistakes, we struggle to enjoy God or the lives He has given us. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to live without making mistakes. If we believe we have to suffer and feel terrible and go on a guilt trip every time we make a mistake, then our lives will be miserable. The way to overcome this is by faith.
We must believe the truth of God’s Word more than we believe our emotions or our thoughts. It really is possible to know in the depths of our hearts that we are not guilty, even if we feel we are. At such times, we need to confess the truth of God’s Word instead of focusing on our feelings.
If you want to honor God, put your faith to work believing God forgives you immediately when you ask Him to do so. Even if you feel guilty you can be assured you are not because I John 1:9 says: “If we (freely) admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins (dismiss our lawlessness) and (continuously) cleanse us from all unrighteousness (everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action).” When feelings of guilt and condemnation arise, press through them in faith and say, “I don’t care how I feel. I have been forgiven!” People will never enjoy God’s plan for their lives unless they stop making decisions based on feelings. Honor God by deciding to trust His Word more than you trust your feelings.
By Faith I Keep Pressing On!