How often do you feel guilty?
Do you ever do/say something and immediately regret it and spend the whole day wishing you could take it back? Do you have things in your past that still weigh heavily on your shoulders? Do you ever remember something you did in the past and cringe over how awful you feel about it now?
Guilt has a way of trapping us, of making us so angry and upset at ourselves, and feeling like we can’t let that go. People will carry around guilt for years, denying themselves self-worth because they feel they don’t deserve it.
But this is not the way God wants us to live. All the guilt we experience in our lives is not meant to take hold of us, Jesus willingly went to the cross to take that away from us. So why do we keep holding onto our guilt? And how do we free ourselves from that?
There are all sorts of reasons that we hold on to guilt. Sometimes people hold on to their guilt because they feel as though letting go would be wrong. If you know you were in the wrong, forgiving yourself can be difficult. While we do need to take responsibility for our actions, and feel challenged and convicted, we don’t need to feel condemned or guilty. We have the most amazing offer of grace and forgiveness, and grabbing hold of that with both hands means letting go of the guilt.
The first step is simply accepting that what happened, or what you did wasn’t good, and perhaps hurt others. Giving excuses or ignoring it doesn’t usually help although it may seem like the better option! Once you’ve done that, it’s important to try and understand the complete fullness of God’s grace and that we have no need for shame. Reading bible verses about it and praying for God to give you a deeper understanding of His grace can be really helpful.
“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace” – Romans 3:23-24
Remember you’re not alone! We’re all broken people, and all have things that we feel guilty about, big and small. But accepting that God has forgiven and redeemed you, and then forgiving yourself is crucial to your maturity and growth as a daughter of Christ.
Guilt is not a good motivator. It will hold you down and stop you from achieving all the great things God has in store for you. Psalm 32:1 says “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” We should be feeling blessed, after receiving forgiveness, not guilty. This was written by David, a man who had purposefully had someone killed, and yet he knew he was redeemed, and held onto that hope, rather than holding on to his guilt.
Forgiving yourself takes time, and isn’t easy, but the truth of God’s grace proves that guilt has no place in our lives.