This week my youngest daughter, Melinda, is moving out of the house. While helping her with the process, I’ve been reflecting on mistakes I’ve made in our relationship over the years. Some mistakes I’m still attempting to conquer.
The thing that threatens me during these times of reflecting on my relationships and admitting I did things wrong is guilt. This guilt can especially overwhelm me when I think of how long I had been mistaken in my methods of interacting with others.
Marie, a Bible study leader I respect and admire often repeats a saying that goes,
“Don’t be wrong long.”
But somtimes I have been. And just the fear of that can keep me from repenting. If I do repent, I can have difficulty letting go of guilt. I convince myself that part of the repenting process is beating myself up for days, weeks, months or even years for how I’ve been so wrong for so long.
The verse that comes to mind in regard to my battle with guilt is in James. There it says:
“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God, [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.” James 1:5 AMP
Wow! When I seek God concerning my relationships, He is delighted to give generous doses of wisdom. And He does it without finding fault with me for how I’ve been messing up–no matter how long I’ve been doing so. He doesn’t rehash my mistakes over and over. If I’m hearing any of that in my mind, it is not coming from Him, but from the enemy of my soul.
This past weekend as I drove back from a help-Mindy-choose things-for-her-new-place trip to Target with both my daughters in the car, I started to speak my guilt out loud. I was amazed that even though they were well aware I had done things wrong as a mom, and I had confessed my sins to them before, they immediately reprimanded me for entertaining guilt.
“You are so far from where you were,” Mindy said, “and I give you props for that.”
Neither daughter was upset over mistakes I had made, but they did get perturbed when I started letting guilt torment me. Like the Lord, they wanted me to move on and enjoy how well we were relating in the present.
I’m ready to do just that. How about you?