I couldn’t be friends with most people my age as a young adult because I was ladened with so much shame, guilt and sorrow. This darkness engulfed my childhood and my adolescent life and I couldn’t live a normal life like many young adults. I couldn’t go to parties for fear of getting caught up in the wrong crowd and ending up with an unwanted pregnancy. I couldn’t have a close friend or a best friend for the fear of being betrayed. My regrets mounted up as I climbed up in years and in stature. Many people thought I was a loner but I was drowning in regrets. Most people my age group were moving forward in life but my shame was holding me back.
I couldn’t shake off my regrets and shame and I couldn’t live up to God’s expectations of me. Every time something seemingly bad happened, I attributed it to my past mistakes. I had so many statements of condemnation and judgements stored up in my mind and they drove me into depression. I constantly told myself “Only ifs”, only if I had not followed my friend to that place then this horrible thing wouldn’t have happened to me. Only if I had kept things to myself then they wouldn’t have anything to gossip about me. Only if I had studied hard then I wouldn’t have been caught cheating.
Judas Iscariot also suffered from a painful regret after his betrayal to Jesus. He was one of the disciples of Jesus who dined and wined with him (Matthew 26:23-25). He was the treasurer of the group (John 12:6). He knew more about Jesus than the outsiders. He knew what Jesus looked like and he was willing to identify him with a kiss and hand him over to the chief priests (Mathew 26:14-15, 47-49). Judas made a grievous mistake. He sold out and handed an innocent man over to the injustice of man. He betrayed his beloved cousin and sold his conscience for a pittance. Judas realized the error of his way and it was too late to rectify it. The Bible says that’ Judas Iscariot was gripped with so much remorse that he returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying; ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’ (Mathew 27:3-5). After the deed was done, he went on and hung himself.
Everybody knew Peter loved Jesus. He would do anything for Jesus. He was the one who blurted out to Jesus, You are the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). He was the same disciple who said to Jesus, Lord if it is really you, command me to come to you on the water (Matthew 14:28). He himself said if all the disciples fall away from Jesus, he would never fall away. He said even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you (Matthew 26:33-35). That was the extent of his love for Jesus. Yet he denied Jesus three times at the point of his death. He too was gripped with so much regret that he wept bitterly (Matthew 26:58-75). Thankfully Peter did not hang himself and Christ forgave him.
Two different people with shameful acts and painful regrets but with different endings. Regret always hold people captive to the past. It stops people from moving on from past mistakes. It brings back bad memories and makes you cower in shame. If care is not taken, holding on to regrets can lead to suicidal thoughts, all kinds of sicknesses and diseases. And if these negative emotions are dealt with, surrendered to Jesus, we end up living free from emotional baggage, free from illnesses and diseases and we can enjoy the newness of life in Christ.
The Bible says that Christ bore our shame on the cross, so we no longer need to carry it on our shoulders anymore. Jesus was publicly shamed, beaten, whipped, spat upon, mocked and nailed to the cross for our sake. Christ said, come unto me all you are heavy laden and I will give you rest. You no longer need to carry that shame, sorrow or mistakes of the past. You can give it to Jesus and he will take it off you and give you rest.
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Make a declaration of faith
I declare my freedom from regrets, guilt and shame. Christ already carried my guilt and shame on the cross, I no longer need to carry the burden of it. Henceforth no longer will the dark clouds of regret, shame and guilt overshadow me. I hand over my burden to Christ and He gives me rest.
I surrender all feelings of guilt, shame, blame, disappointment and regrets to Jesus. I am no longer willing to hold on to these things because Christ already nailed them with him on the cross. I am henceforth delivered from these negative emotions and I live in freedom through Christ my deliverer.
I give up every painful regret to Jesus and I receive my rest from him. Today I am free from all guilt and shame as I look up to Jesus the author and the finisher of my faith.
1 Thess 5:23, Rom 6:4, Psalm 25:2, Hebrews 12:2, Romans 10:9-11, 2 Corinthians 7:9-11