But the truth is we can't know everything. Most of the time we don't even fully know our own reasons for our actions—how can we possibly know the mind of another?
We are all guilty of sin by virtue of our sin nature inherited from Adam. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT). When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, we become aware of our guilt and feel true shame over our sin.
We all have an intuitive sense of justice and that wrong must be atoned for. But because of our sin nature we are prone to self-atonement and false guilt, a sense and thought that we must somehow pay the penalty ourselves. This results in self-recrimination, self-accusation, and false shame, which is a powerful sense of worthlessness.
God addressed the problem of our guilt and shame by providing forgiveness as a gift “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV).
The punishment for our sin is not overlooked. The death of Christ actually paid the penalty in our place once for all: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
The Lord also provides ongoing provision for our sin: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). By truly receiving His forgiveness when we sin as believers, we thwart self and Satan's attempts to create false guilt.
Oh, I understand that our example is Christ…and that the standard is high…and that our motives are to be pure. But it needs to be repeated again and again and again: Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.
Our habit of looking back in life’s rear-view mirror can put us on a collision course. We can lose sight of God’s steadfast grip in our life.
Although we are Christians, we still struggle with sin in our flesh (Galatians 5:17-21). If we live according to the flesh we will reap dead works.
But we can learn from our regrets and the regrets of others. Regret for past mistakes can help redeem the days ahead, if we learn from where we've been and avoid sitting around wasting time regretting.
When I was about eight I stole something. This event ranks as one of the top 10 of all my childhood memories, right up there with nearly drowning. I remember it so clearly.
Developing the habit of deferring gratification is no simple task, especially since we all seem to be multi-taskers these days. We live with the short term in mind.
Satan and his demons operate by deceiving us, seducing us, blinding us, accusing us, and seeking to influence us in such a way as to defeat us and thereby rob God of His glory (Ephesians 6:12).
“I know I should never question those God placed in authority of the church, but I'm starting to feel exhausted always trying to measure up to their standards. It never seems like I can do enough or be enough.”