As I was falling asleep last night, my mind went back to one of my failures as a Christian man and leader. I really don’t know why the thought jumped into my head, but it came and completely dominated my thoughts. The events of a failure that happened over ten years ago played in my mind over and over. It was as vivid and frustrating to me as if it had happened yesterday.
I don’t know if this happens because I am introvert and tend to spend much of my life inside my own mind or if it occurs merely because I am a human. There is this tendency within each one of us to replay our failures, mistakes, and sins repeatedly in our heads.
It seems so hard to let go of our past mistakes and sins.
At moments like this, I must remind myself of five fundamental truths I believe as a follower of Jesus.
1. Jesus Forgives Me Completely. The foundation of my faith is that Jesus died on the cross to pay my debt of sin. I believe the cross paid my debt and I am forgiven entirely. It doesn’t matter how I feel about myself because I am forgiven. When my failure comes tapping on my shoulder, I run to Jesus and the cross.
2. Nothing Can Separate Me from the Love of God. Paul affirms in his letter to the Church at Rome that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. I do believe we can choose to walk away from our faith and reject Jesus, but my sin does not mean that Jesus decides to reject me. Just like when my children make mistakes and disobey me it does not mean that they are no longer my kids. God loves me in spite of my flaws.
3. I Do Not Need to Punish Myself. For me, this is an important reality. I frequently fall into the trap of thinking that if I don’t feel wrong about something, then I got away with it. I feel this need to continually feel the weight of my mistake as an effort to bear some of the burdens of my sin. I need to be continually reminded that Jesus paid it ALL.
4. My Life is Not Defined by My Failures. I worry that if people found out about my sin, then I would be branded by some ugly label. My life would be defined as a liar, cheat and failure. Mistakes do not define a believer. Our Lord and Savior is the one who labels us.
5. Get Out of My Head. This seems so simple, but I say to myself repeatedly, “Get out of your head.” If I spend too long inside the darkness of my mind, I can easily believe the lies being whispered in my ear. The temptations of evil are not just to act in an ungodly manner, but also to think wrongly. Sometimes I have to stop and read a passage of the bible or listen to a song or just take a walk outside. I need to clear my head of all the ugliness that goes on in there.
I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with this issue. I think all of us live with some levels of regret and remorse. I hope the next time you find yourself in that place that maybe you will be able to resist the voices inside your head and believe the truth of Jesus.