2 Corinthians 7:10a “Godly sorrow brings repentance that brings salvation and leaves no regret…”
I recall receiving a call from a Christian lady who was feeling down on herself. She made the statement: “It seems that something is going wrong all the time. I guess God is still punishing me for something.” My spirit was grieved and I heard the Spirit of God say, “She needs to know that I don’t hold grudges.” Many people think that they’re hurting in their present because God never stops punishing them for mess-ups they made in the past. True, there are consequences for every “Mess -Up” however God forgives.
Have you ever messed up? I have and, maybe not intentionally, I’m sure that I will mess up again. To mess up means we mishandle something. It may be a situation on our jobs, with our health, in our personal relationships with others, or in our personal relationship with God. Actually when we mess up with/on someone we ARE messing up in our relationship with God.
When David came before God in the 51st Psalm to confess his sin (he impregnated another man’s wife and had the man killed when he realized he was not going to be able to get away with it) David prayed, “God, against YOU and only you have I sinned and did this evil thing in your sight.” When we mess up we have choices of what we can do about it. We can try to hide our mess-ups from God and ourselves or we can confess our mess-ups. The Scripture teaches us that if we hide our sin we will not prosper. (Proverbs 28:13a)
When we mess up on our jobs, based on how we respond to it, we might or might not get fired; when we mess up with our health it might mean that we will be faced with a life threatening disease or worse, we could actually die; if we mess up in our relationship, the salvation of the relationship will depend on how we respond when our mess-ups are revealed.
Speaking from a spiritual standpoint, each of us needs to realize that, being a Christian does not exempt us from “messing up”. Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church, the body of believers, because they had messed up. Paul corrected them but then he acknowledged their repentance, telling them that their Godly sorrow led to repentance and no regrets. So what should WE do when we mess up or sin?
1. We should acknowledge our mess-ups. Even people who are not confessed Christians generally know when they mess up. Children learn early when they mess up but oftentimes, children and adults will try to hide our mess-ups. But, instead of trying to hide our sin we should admit that we have messed up.
2. We should repent with Godly sorrow. Being Godly sorry might mean that we need to apologize to somebody. People matter. The Scripture teaches that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We should never want to be the reason for someone else’s pain. We should certainly repent unto God. We should acknowledge that we sinned against God and let Him know that we are truly sorry. We shouldn’t just be sorry that our sin is made known, we should be sorry that we grieved the Holy Spirit. The Scripture teaches that when we sin we crucify Jesus all over again so, we need to be Godly sorry. Being Godly sorry brings repentance and repentance leads to salvation. (Deliverance, Redemption).
3. When we acknowledge our “mess ups” then repent with Godly sorrow, we should accept God’s forgiveness. When my child or someone I love does something to hurt me and sincerely asks me for forgiveness, it makes me want to take the person into my arms and say, “I do not hold it against you. All is well with us.” If we have that kind of love for others, how much more does God love us? God doesn’t hold grudges. Many of us have the problem of rehashing the mess-ups of others, even after we have promised to forgive them, but God never does. He casts our mess/sins into the depths of the sea.
In my conclusion, let us use our mess-ups as Life Lessons, not burdens. Our past should not steal our present. Jesus died for our mess-ups. God will not cancel our future because of our past and when He gives us our present He wants us to rejoice and be glad in it, make the most of it, and let our lives give Him glory.
Presiding Elder (Retired) Ella M. Samuels
7711 Astoria Place
Raleigh, North Carolina 27612
African Methodist Episcopal Church.