Lately, I’ve noticed several faith-based songs affirm this cultural trend to live a life without regrets. Personally, I think regret is a healthy thing. We don’t learn or grow if we have no regrets. Remorse leads us to repentance and renewal. Furthermore, Jesus calls us to examine and turn away from our life of sin.
Raechel Myers states the dilemma this way: ” ‘Repent and believe’. These are the words Christ uses in the Gospel of Mark to begin His earthly ministry (Mark 1:15). But isn’t it funny how quickly we skate past that first part? Believing is beautiful, but repentance is less glamorous. Yet, […] If we skip repentance, what do we believe He saves us from?”
Avoid the Extremes:
Don’t Ignore the Guilt
& Don’t Get Stuck
When the Holy Spirit convicts us, we should feel ashamed of our sin and confess our wrong before Him. Metaphorically, we are dirty cars that need washing. We can sit in the driveway, never leaving because we are ashamed of how we look or we can drive through the car wash of Christ’s redemptive power and move forward cleansed. Will we need to return? Of course. We won’t be perfect, but we continue to acknowledge our need for Him and find revival as He forgives and restores us to right relationship.
Do you so love the truth and the right that you welcome, or at least submit willingly to, the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown to yourself — an exposure that may redound to the glory of the truth by making you ashamed and humbled?…Are you willing to be made glad that you were wrong when you thought others were wrong?…We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future. It will not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit that we should be ashamed. For to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing. Shame is a thing to shame only those who want to appear, not those who want to be . Shame is to shame those who want to pass their examination, not those who would get into the heart of things…To be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath of truth. ~George MacDonald
Being Ashamed–for a time–Brings Beauty.
Come to your right mind, and sin no more. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
“We don’t stay ashamed, but our regret brings us in humility to the heart of our Father. And in Him, we see love, grace, forgiveness and acceptance. When Jesus pulls Peter up out of the water, having failed to have enough faith to believe Jesus would keep him up, Jesus reaches out His hand to us. “Before Jesus scolds Peter, first he rescues him. I’ve had that wrong all my life. I always picture the falter, the failure, the scolding, then finally the begrudging hand of help: I knew you couldn’t do it yourself. Do I have to do everything?
But now I was seeing something entirely new; the rescue came first. When Peter faltered, Jesus reached out a hand before saying a word” (Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect).
Say Goodbye to a Life of Constant Shame
Continually living with the weigh of shame is tantamount to living in disbelief. It’s like saying to God, “You can’t forgive me of this mistake. I’m too far gone for you to cleanse me.” What a mockery of the ultimate sacrifice Christ made on the cross. John Piper encourages us, “every one of us must battle the effects of a well-placed shame that threatens to linger too long and cripple us. We must battle unbelief by taking hold of promises like, ‘But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.’ (Ps. 130:4)
Let him return to the Lord that he may have mercy on him and to our God for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6)
If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)
Don’t Take on the Guilt of Another.
Sometimes people disagree with us or hold differing convictions. Sometimes what happens circumstantially is put on us as our fault, when it doesn’t belong there. Seek the Lord and His perspective over the situation. Realize that not all guilt is ours to carry. “O]thers try to load us with shame for evil circumstances when in fact we had no part in dishonoring God. It happened to Jesus. They called him a winebibber and a glutton. They called him a temple destroyer. They called him a hypocrite: He healed others, but he can’t heal himself. In all this the goal was to load Jesus with a shame that was not his to bear.
In other words, for all the evil and deceit judgment and criticism that others may use to heap on us a shame that is not ours to bear, and for all the distress and spiritual warfare it brings, the promise stands sure that they will not succeed in the end. All the children of God will be vindicated. The truth will be known. And no one who banks his hope on the promises of God will be put to shame. ” (John Piper, Battling the Unbelief of Misplaced Shame).