Have you ever wished there was a re-do button for your life? That you could rewind parts of your life, and make different choices?
Hanging onto guilt, shame, or regret can weigh us down, and rob us of confidence in God’s love and purpose for our life. If you feel bad about yourself because of your past actions, you may feel unqualified to help others – which is exactly WHY the enemy tries to convince you that your past makes you unlovable.
The enemy (the devil, who is also known as the Accuser in Revelation 12:10) is the heart of “the critical spirit.” This means that he criticizes you all day long, and also entices you to criticize others. All of these accusations create rampways for the devil to control you (Ephesians 4:26).
People who have a “critical spirit” are constantly finding fault in others, and in themselves. They are perfectionistic, and have standards that no one could achieve.
Instead of being vigilant in finding fault in yourself or others, scripture reminds us to be vigilantly watchful so that the enemy doesn’t control us (1 Peter 5:8).
And praise God that he has a plan for us to be relieved of our burdens, through prayer and believing in Jesus to save us.
This means telling God about everything that’s in your heart. Even dropping to your knees to express your sorrow at past mistakes, and asking for his forgiveness. Since God already knows everything about you (Hebrews 4:13), there are no secrets from him. So your prayers are for his forgiveness, and for his Spirit to teach you why you took those past actions, and how to avoid them in the future.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ESV
When I was in the new age movement, I thought that the word “sin” was a cuss word. If someone said I sinned, I thought they were calling me a bad person. I didn’t realize then that we’ve all sinned! (Romans 3:23) Somehow, knowing that I’m in good company with the whole human race helped me to get comfortable with the term, sin.
But then, what do you do with the sin you’ve amassed? Well, you first bring it to God in prayer. You confess the wrong-doings to him, with a truly contrite (remorseful) heart. You pray for God to forgive you, and to lift you up.
Then you keep praying, especially if the devil starts to slap you around with guilt. The devil (aka the accuser) tries to convince you that you’re permanently damaged by your past actions. Don’t believe him! Like the story of the prodigal son, God welcomes us prodigal daughters and sons back with open arms.
After all, look at how God forgave the Apostle Paul, even after Paul was involved with killing Christians! And how Jesus forgave the criminal on the cross who believed in him and said, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NLT).
Apostle Paul is also an example of how God can use our past mistakes to create glory for his kingdom! Pray that God uses you to help others, and that you can teach others based upon what you’ve learned from your past.
Forgiveness from God doesn’t give us a license to keep sinning, of course. Once we are saved, we are motivated to live godly lives.
Here’s a powerful prayer:
I praise you and thank you for your wonders of creation, and for the magnificence of your love and mercy. I come before you today in the name of your son, Jesus of Nazareth, to ask for your forgiveness for (describe whatever is weighing you down). Please forgive me! I pray that your Holy Spirit will show me why I engaged in these actions, and show me to a better way for today and my future. Thank you for your forgiveness and love. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for saving me for eternal life with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
And remember the promise of Romans 10:9-10 –
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.