Holding on to Guilt? Let it Go!

He has removed our sins from as far from us as the East is from the West. Psalm 103:12

So many of my friends lately seem to be holding onto to some type of pain or guilt. Often they profess a feeling of unworthiness. Some of them don’t express it outwardly at all but, as someone who has held onto feelings of guilt, pain and unworthiness, I often see it in their eyes or hear it in their words. Usually, these feelings of guilt are hidden so deep within our insides, we may no longer even recognize them ourselves. Still it manifests itself it our outward reactions to life.

Learn a lesson from the young children in life that walk around singing and joyful. They don’t hold on to the moments before. They just “Let it go!” Children don’t need the ice princess in Disney’s Frozen to teach them about letting go of the past.  Why, as adults is this so hard for us to grasp?

So often, I see beautiful people shying away from great opportunities in life, cutting off what could be beautiful friendships and/or denying themselves simple pleasures all because of something from their past. Sometimes this past is only a short time ago and we feel like we haven’t removed ourselves far enough from it to make it no longer who we are. But even just one second ago is past. We are new creations in God each morning, each hour, each moment.

Sometimes, we have held onto our guilt or ill feelings so long, we no longer realize we are holding onto them, or that it is affecting almost every decision we make in our lives. Often our guilt is a result of our own doing but sometimes it is the result of other people making us feel guilty or bad about ourselves. Id say usually it is a combination of both.

There are a few things we need to remember. First and foremost, God created us. He chose every single detail about us. He loves us fully, thoroughly and unconditionally, despite any mistakes we may have made. We all believe this on the surface but, we still pack in feelings of insecurity and doubt. This is not what God wants for us. He doesn’t want us to judge ourselves. We are His beautiful and wonderful creation! Who are we to question His choices in how we were made?

Furthermore, God has removed EVERY single sin we have EVER committed. No matter how terrible it seems, no matter how many people got hurt, no matter how much it “ruined” your life or someone else’s life. No you may not be able to take it back or undo it but, it is no longer part of who you are! You are no longer the person that committed those sins. You are a new creation every day! No matter how terrible you think you are, no matter how many awful, atrocious sins you committed, each day is a new beginning for you. If you walk with God, you are righteous and blameless in His sight.

If God can forgive and forget, why can’t you? Why are you still holding onto it? Why are you letting it eat you apart inside? Even the people you hurt, if they look deep within themselves, they only hate you because they know their own part in the failures. If they can’t let go, that is between them and God. They are hurting themselves more by not forgiving you. If you still interact with them or even if you isolated yourself from them, you are hurting them more by not forgiving yourself. You may even be hurting others in your life by your unwillingness to let go of your ill feelings toward yourself. Your effort to isolate yourself from them in order to keep from hurting them may in fact be causing them pain or minimally keeping them from experiencing the true joy that God meant for your relationship to hold.

Holding onto to guilt, anger, hurt or blame isn’t healthy or helpful to anyone. It won’t undo what you did. It won’t make it better. Nothing you DO, besides accepting God’s grace can improve the situation. The only positive thing you can do is forgive yourself, move on and commit to serving God as whole heartedly as you can and commit to giving all of yourself to God and to any future relationships you may have. Be careful here not to pretend you are forgiving yourself. This is an ongoing act you will have to chose every day if you want your relationships with others not to hurt them. And like it or not, you have relationships with others. I am talking friends, family, coworkers, those you are ministering to and yes, ultimately your significant other if you have one.

You can’t give all of yourself, in any situation or to anyone, if you haven’t fully accepted His forgiveness. Yet, this is what He has called us to do. God has many relationships in mind for your life, whether you chose to participate in them or hide from them. when you chose to hide, you are not only denying yourself but all of those God is asking you to bless with your love. No matter who you are, there are people He is asking you to reach, to love and to add joy and companionship to. Don’t kid yourself, you can’t do that if you are protecting them from your true self, or your companionship at all. Only if you are giving them yourself, flaws and all, and allowing them to love you as you love them, are you giving them the relationship they need and desire. The one God would have you give.

The truth is, we don’t have as much power over life as we think. We are small and insignificant. Grieving our own wrong doings (being heartfelt repentance) suggests that somehow we can upset the plans of God and that He is not ultimately in control of everything. Remember when Joseph told his brothers, “You meant this for harm but, God meant it for good.” This is true with our own transgressions. You are not bigger or more powerful than God. He could have stopped you. He allowed this for the good of His bigger plan.

God wants all of us to enjoy life and to be happy and that means YOU too. Yes, YOU the one who is saying but I’m too bad, I’m too sinful, I’m too this or that. No, you are not. God had me write this just for YOU. Yes, YOU. Don’t look around. You know who you are. YOU are God’s beautiful creation and you can never mar that, thanks to His grace and the blood shed by Christ.

Hear these final words and apply them to any tittle you have given yourself:

And that is what some of you were, But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

This was addressed to thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers, the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, murderers (add any other label you like here). Which of these are you worse than? These are the things they were and not the things they are. Maybe they are things you were but they are not the things you are. Don’t continue to allow yourself to be these things.

Get on your knees and ask God to help you forgive yourself. Learn to live free from your past sins. Be the beautiful creation He made you. He is calling you to bless someone else’s life and you can’t do that if you are still holding onto the past, if you are pushing people away because you don’t think you are good enough. None of us are good enough on our own. We just have to keep asking God to intercede for us so that we don’t continue to make more mistakes. Now, you are washed, you are sanctified, you are a child of God made to do great works which you cannot do to the best of your ability if you don’t let go of your past titles.

“Let it go!”

Heb 10:22-23  Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

 

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