A big struggle for many people is overcoming regrets from past bad decisions or struggles. I know I have had similar issues with this, especially the feeling that my entire life from age 14 to 21 was a waste due to the lifestyle I chose at that time. However, while it’s okay to feel bad for the wrong things you did in the past, you should not let the feeling of guilt and regret consume you and rob you of the life Jesus wants to give you now.
It is a colossal trick of the Devil to make you think that your past defines you and that the bad decisions you have made will never be rectified. First of all, neither of these things are true. Furthermore, what is far more important than what you have done in the past is what are you doing now. If you are still making those same mistakes, then you have a problem. However, if you are no longer making them or, if you are fighting to change your ways with all of your strength, but are struggling, then you are doing great.
Let’s look at three truths to keep in mind about your identity and past regrets that can help you overcome those regrets and avoid the crushing sadness that they may bring.
Your Past Does Not Define You
If we were truly defined by our past mistakes and failure to do what is right, I would be in a lot of trouble. That is one of the beautiful parts about being human, we can change our ways. Furthermore, we can always choose good and strive to be great. No amount of bad decisions will ever alter this.
To say that we are defined by our past bad decisions and mistakes would be like saying a baseball player is bad because he struck out a few times. In fact, the baseball player, Reggie Jackson, is nicknamed, “Mr. October”, because he played so well in the playoffs every season, leading his teams to win first place many times. He was an All-Star, World Series champion, and won many awards for his ball playing skills.
What many might be shocked to hear is that Reggie Jackson currently holds the record for all-time most strike outs. This means that he has struck out more times than any ball player ever. Does this mean that Reggie is a bad baseball player? No. In fact, this would be weird to say, because Mr. October was inducted into the baseball hall of fame just 6 years after his final season of playing.
Neither do your past mistakes and bad choices determine that you are bad. Your past might have put you on a certain trajectory, but it does not determine where you will go. Similarly, your past choices might have been bad, but they do not determine what you will do today. Your past is over and no longer has power over you. If you are sorry for what you have done, say you are sorry, let it go, and go do something good.
God Can Bring Good Out of Anything You Have Done
One fear that people have over their past regrets is that what they did caused irreparable damage and can never be corrected. While you cannot undo your actions, what you should always remember is that God can bring good out of all of our poor choices.
This is not an excuse to make more poor choices. However, while we may not be able to go back in time to fix certain problems that we caused or get a “redo” to change how we handled certain situations, we can trust the words of Romans 8:28, which says,
“We know that God makes all things work together for good for those who love him.”
God is bringing good out of your poor choices, mistakes, terrible actions of the past right now as we speak. One example of this is seen with my own life and current mission. While I would have much rather that I stayed on the straight and arrow in my youth to enjoy a more light-hearted childhood, God is still using my poor choices from my teen years to show me his love for me by healing me from the impact of these choices. Furthermore, from this healing experience, He has been using me to bring healing to others through Zenith Ministries.
I am seeing tremendous breakthrough happen for people that I might not have seen otherwise. Moreover, I do not let my mistakes of the past bog me down any longer because of what I am doing now. I see the goodness of God working through me now, which helps me let go of the past. Let’s look at this more in the next section.
Who Are You Now?
No matter what you have done in the past, no matter how terrible, it does not change the fact that you can make better choices right now. While continually falling into bad habits and making bad choices can make it more difficult for you to choose good, you can still choose good. In fact, I did just that 15 years ago this April.
It can only be God’s grace that allowed me to do it so well, but all in one moment I decided that I was done drinking, I was done doing cocaine, I was done smoking pot, and I was going to start listening to Jesus from that moment on. (A side not: I had tried this many times before, but did not find success until I added Jesus to the picture.) I was done making those same old bad decisions and I was reborn in Jesus Christ. It was truly an amazing time for me and I share the story in other blogs and podcasts.
What really helped me overcome the shame of past regrets is that I knew that I was not that person anymore. That person is dead and the real Thomas is more alive than ever. Even if you make a big mistake and you do not feel changed as a person, you still are not the same person who made that mistake.
Due to the growth and understanding that has come from that mistake you are now changed and different. You have a new lesson and understanding. You would not make that same mistake again if you can help it. This means that you are better than you were. Now that you are different, why would you measure yourself based on a behavior that no longer applies to you?
Who are you now? Are you the same person making the same mistakes? Then that is a problem. However, if you have learned from your mistakes and changed accordingly, then you are doing great! Forgive yourself and move on. And if you still are held accountable for your past actions, put up with it, be glad that it is not worse, and keep being the changed person you are. That is far better than being that person who is still making those bad decisions.
If you would like assistance with overcoming past regrets, we can help. At Zenith Ministries, we have been running a successful one on one mentorship program where we offer insight, real life solutions, inner healing, and spiritual guidance to those who need it. Reach out today to receive a free consultation to see how we can help you overcome your struggles and enter into the beautiful life you were meant for. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text at 404-333-8978. More info at www.zenithministries.com/mentorship.