Letting the darkness of guilt, no matter the form, take over your life is something that feels like it will be there forever. Always lurking and reminding of the harmful decisions that were made at a point in your life where you were not yourself. Never leaving your memory, and eating you up inside.
For me, the reminders always seemed to come just as I was starting to forget about them. I would start to feel content with my life and even happy at some points. Then I would think back to all the hurt I caused when I was controlled by darkness and negativity. I would remember all the pain that I caused, not just to myself but to everyone that was around me.
I felt as though these memories would always be permanently embedded in my head. Constantly reminding me of the pain I had inflicted. Even though my loved ones had reassured me that everything in the past was forgiven, I couldn’t get rid of a tiny voice in the back of my head reminding me of all I had done.
After months of wrestling with the reasoning as to why this voice was still talking despite the reassurance my people had given me, a member of my family finally broke through to me. I confessed everything to her. I told her the amount of guilt I was carrying was destroying me. I couldn’t not think about my past. I’ll never forget her words to me. “We have all forgiven you. But that will never mean anything until you learn to forgive yourself.”
The first verse she shared with me is still something I read to remind myself of God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 12:9 reassures:
“He said to be, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' So I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
God’s power could only ever be perfect if there was weakness. And I had a lot of weakness. Weakness that I didn’t need to be ashamed of. Weakness that I needed to fully embrace in order to grow from.
I’ve noticed not just in myself, but in others as well, that we tend to drag around our guilt and see it as something that will always be tied to us. It’s something we accept that will be weighing us down no matter where we go in life. Jerry Bridges, a Christian author and motivational speaker, observes, “instead of living in the sunshine of God’s forgiveness through Christ, we tend to live under an overcast sky of guilt most of the time.” This is heartbreaking how true it touches the heart.
No matter the guilt you may carry, no matter how overbearing it feels, you are not meant to carry the weight around with you. You are forgiven by the Creator of this amazing Universe. And you are only hurting yourself when you choose not to forgive yourself.
You are forgiven. For everything in the past and everything to come in the future. Although it may feel uncomfortable accepting this at first, it’s so healing to understand this. No one is meant to carry the weight of the past with them forever. So learn to let go.
All sections taken from the Bible come from the New Revised Standard Version of the text