13 October 2012

Overcoming Guilt and Shame of the Past by Diana Flowers




I recently finished a wonderful new novel called A Love Surrendered by one of my favorite authors, Julie Lessman, in which the hero in the book suffered from such shame and guilt over his past, he simply could not move on. His relationships with his friends were stagnant. He couldn't have a meaningful relationship with a young lady, and he couldn't even have one with God – or so he thought. Just a book character . . . right? Christians in real life aren't plagued by shame and guilt . . . wrong! After talking with many Christian and non-Christian women and family members I knew I HAD to write this post.


Us women are all so different—some of us like fishing, others cooking, gardening, hiking and one of my Facebook friends loves riding four wheelers (not me!). But one thing we all have in common is a past. The past is anything that happened before today. One may carry guilt over something that happened just yesterday, a year ago, or perhaps something that occurred in their childhood—and 30 plus odd years down the road it's still weighing them down. Some may harbor guilt or shame concerning events in their lives before they came to Christ, still others after they became a Christian. Many unfortunately bear the heavy burden of shame concerning sin that someone perpetrated against them.



Satan uses guilt and shame as a ploy to get the believer to think about past failures and to cause them to see themself in a distorted light. And he uses it with unbelievers as well – to make them feel unworthy of salvation. His objective is to keep us looking back at our past failures so much, that we begin to see ourselves as failures – the complete opposite of what we really are! How can we move forward with God with one foot still chained to the past? Remember Lot's wife who dared to look back (Genesis 19:26)—and thank God we live under the new covenant!



The woman at the well (John 4) was living a shameful life when she happened upon Jesus that fateful day. He told her she had been married umpteen times and the man she was now living with was not her husband. Did He condemn her? No, He was just telling her the facts and He told her how to get free! I'm convinced she repented, picked up a broom, beat that man out of her house, and lived a new life free from guilt and condemnation of the past. Romans 8:1 says—There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit!



The first step in freeing ourselves from the sins and guilt of the past – if we haven't done so already – is to repent and make Jesus the Lord of our lives. Simply ask Him to forgive you, come into your heart, and life, and make a new creature out of you—and He will! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says—Therefore if any man (or woman – my words) be in Christ, he/she is a new creature: old things are passed away; Behold all things are become new! ALL things!!!


The second step is asking forgiveness for not forgiving one's self for a past that is under the blood. A preacher said something so simple and profound one day that it literally changed my life and my whole thought process. He said that when a person will not forgive himself for the past and continues to carry guilt and shame over it, it is saying that Jesus' blood was not enough for us. Though He took upon Him the sin and shame of the whole world and shed His life's blood that we might find forgiveness – we are saying His blood wasn't enough; if we won't forgive ourselves. My shame and guilt were a thing of the past when I heard that. However . . .


The third step is to think about those things no more. Let them go! When satan tries to remind you of your past – remind him of his future! In Micah, God tells us that all of our sins are cast into the depth of the sea, never to be remembered any more by Him. I don't want to dredge them all the way up from there . . . do you? Hebrews 8:12 says—"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Now that our past has been blotted out, it's time to forget it, and as Philippians 3:13 says—Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before; I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!


I would be remiss here if I didn't address something to you that I had personally battled over for years . . . guilt and shame over things that were perpetrated against you that were not your fault. Jesus bore the stripes, the shame and shed His blood for that, too. We may not understand why that had to happen to us, but we live in a sinful, fallen world and some day we will be rewarded for all the tears we have shed because of another's sinful actions. Kneel at the cross and leave your guilt and shame at his nail scarred feet. Give it to Him and He will carry it for you. It's too heavy for us to bear, brothers and sisters, but He already bore it for us at Calvary's cross.


I end this post with tears streaming down my cheeks as I know firsthand the suffering that some of you have carried around for years. Let's kneel before the King together and walk forward hand in hand with our heads held high, for after all, we are Princes and Princesses—children of the most High, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!



24 comments:

  1. Wow, Diana, what a humbling post...THANK YOU for putting your whole heart into this book review. Thank you for such an in depth reminder about entrusting Christ with our MOST painful experiences and letting go so that we can find freedom in His shed blood.

    I recently experienced something painful that I'm still healing from and releasing to God. Both seasoned and new Christians struggle with guilt and shame, it's a weapon constantly used against us. Your comments come right from the throne of God that are both required and uplifting.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed Julie's book and for the insight you got along the way. That is the kind of book reviewer every blogger should be. Hugs, blessings and tissues for you; you are God's Beloved and His Princess :)

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  2. Just read it for the fourth time, I think. It's so beautiful and humbling!! Thank you for sharing with us, DIANA! ♥

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  3. You speak truth, sister! The foot of the cross is the only place we can be released from shame and guilt. Satan is our enemy and he is always prowling around, seeking whom he can devour. Our minds must continually be on Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome!
    I'd better go before I start shouting, 'cause you know, Presbyterians don't shout ;)

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  4. That was so beautifully and well-put Diana. Sometimes it's as if we can't fathom just how loving and forgiving our Lord is when we come to Him in repentance. I'm reminded of Psalms 103:11,12 where He says 'For as the heavens are high above the earth, SO GREAT is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, SO FAR does He remove our transgressions from us.' Now that's as far as you can get!! Bless the Lord <3

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  5. Thank you so much, KARA for your lovely words. I know God wanted me to write this b/c I fought Him for awhile on it...after I obeyed, the peace I experienced was out of this world!

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  6. Thank you, MARIAN, for your kind words and for being my editor on this one! <3

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  7. ANNE, I think Heaven is probably not a very quiet place--so go ahead and shout, honey! TERESA and I are Pentecostal so I promise you we won't mind! Thank you for coming by and for your words of wisdom, ANNE.

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  8. Thank you, NOELA! And you are so right! Not only does He forgive us, but it is a must that we forgive ourselves. He will help us to do that if we reach out to Him. I love the story of THE PRODIGAL SON--such a fine example of how our much Heavenly Father loves and forgives us!

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  9. I am just getting over a migraine, so am praying you all will be patient towards me today...I can't be on the computer alot today...that little stinker is waiting right under the surface to come back. :(

    Pray for me and know that know matter how long it takes, I will get to your comments and respond back. You all mean alot to me and I don't take it for granted when you take time out of your busy day to drop by here to see me!

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  10. I see God is preparing you for your speaking ministry and giving you the words to write and say! Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom, Diana!!!

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  11. I see God is preparing you for your speaking ministry and giving you the words to write and say! Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom, Diana!!!

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  12. Writing--perhaps...speaking--never have been able to do that, CARRIE. I took an "F" in school instead of having to stand up b4 the class. My pastor wants me to stand b4 the congregation and read this; he read it the other day when he came over. I think I will settle for TERESA posting it in the church bulletin. :)

    CARRIE, thank you for being one of my biggest encouragers and for helping me to get out of my comfort zone-in small increments. You are such a blessing in my heart and life!

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  13. Diana fantastic sermon. I know that satan is upset that you obeyed God in writing this, it is something we all struggle with at sometime in our lives. I am so proud of you gf!
    Can't wait to put this in the bulletin at Church. :) Praying that nasty migriane is gone in Jesus' name! Love ya!

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  14. Thank you so much, TERESA! I never thought about this being a satanic attack b/c of this post today, but that's exactly what this is. And greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. If this post helps ONE person, it will be worth the migraine.

    Agreeing with you that this migraine will flee in Jesus mighty name. I don't have time for it!!! Love you, T!

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  15. Oh, Diana ... this is simply a beautiful post, my friend, and one that had me tearing up as well because as frail human beings, we ALL need the healing balm of Jesus Christ, not just in our bodies, but in our hearts and emotions.

    Thank you for writing it AND giving the steps involved -- I LOVE that!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  16. Oh, JULIE, thank you so much. I'm truly humbled by the praises of such a fine writer as yourself! Yes, we all need healing for our emotions...especially if we had a rough past!

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  17. Such a beautiful post Diana. I could not help but cry. I have carried guilt over something I did not do but still feel guilty. I am turning it over to God. I agree we all need healing over our emotions and God can do this for us.
    Thanks for the beautiful post.

    nisskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  18. MISSKALLIE, I'm so glad you are now able to turn this over to God, sweetie. Thank you so much for sharing. And don't let the enemy dare try to put that guilt trip back on you. Blessings to you!

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  19. Ultra-wonderful book review on Julie's book. This is one I've missed, but I intend to add it to my tbr list immediately!! I've read at least 6 of her books...guess I'd better look into what else I haven't read. I'm one of Julie Lessman's most staunch fans! I need this writing as well as others close to me. You're a reviewing wonder, Diana...I love you and you bless me many times over.

    Blessed by Grace,
    Barb

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  20. Diana, the previous comment made it obvious I had not read the entire review. For some reason my imagination told me this was a different book of Julie's that I hadn't read. But....I had read the very book you reviewed so fantastically and had written a review on it myself....published in The Wordsmith Journal Magazine...as well as both of my blogs. MY FACE IS BRIGHT RED!! I feel like a great big "DUH!" Julie, please go ahead and laugh...I don't mind. LOL Well, I've admitted my silliness....just add it up to that birthday I had this week....now I'm 4 days past my 74th.... OMG, it's already starting to tell.

    Yes, Diana....you definitely are a reviewing wonder!

    Blaringly Red,
    Barb

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  21. BARB, I think YOU are a wonder! All the things you do at your age, and new projects you have started. You are amazing and we appreciate you here at OTT so much! Happy Belated Birthday to you!!

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  22. I have a friend who could never forgive herself for an abortion she had in the 70's. She is a christian but she still deals heavily.

    missionwife@hotmail.com

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  23. Maybe you could share some of these things with her, MELODY. Guilt and shame are a heavy load to bear...I know...I carried it for years until Jesus set me free from it.

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  24. LOL, BARB ... you made me smile ... AGAIN!! :)


    MELODY ... that breaks my heart, truly! I am saying one for her right now, for God to give her breakthrough.

    Hugs,
    JUlie

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