I recently made a mistake that affected someone else in a pretty big way. I felt so bad for the mistake I made that it began to torment me.
Even though I had sincerely apologized and the people involved had forgiven me, the guilt of my mistake came upon me like a heavy weight and tried to make its home with me. It was casting a dark shadow on my life and I knew I had to get rid of it.
Guilt is like a poison that if you allow it to stay around long enough, it will wreak havoc on your relationships, well being, and physical health. I believe many diseases are rooted in emotions like guilt. Our bodies are not designed to carry around these toxic chemicals that constant feelings of guilt will produce.
So how do we get rid of guilt? How do we purge this toxic emotion from our soul, even when we made a mistake that is deserving of it?
I want to share how I found freedom from guilt and how you can too! Guilt is not your friend.
When you do something wrong, it’s natural to feel sorry for what you did. But if you allow guilt to hang around and get a foothold in your life, it will trap you into a life of bondage. Jesus came to set you free from guilt!
Remember that Jesus Took Your Punishment
You don’t have to punish yourself. Sometimes we allow ourselves to feel guilt because we know that we deserve it. What we did was wrong and so we believe that we should suffer for it.
The problem with this mindset is that Jesus already took your punishment. The payment for the sin has been made. It does no good to punish yourself with feelings of guilt.
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2 NKJV
The punishment due for sin is death. Jesus bore that punishment when He was crucified so that you could be free from the penalty of sin, know God intimately again and receive all the blessings He longs to pour on your life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NKJV
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 AMP
Remember that Righteousness is a Gift
All your guilt has been taken away. There is no condemnation for those of us in Christ. You’ve been made righteous. Your righteousness is an eternal gift that can’t be taken away, no matter what mistakes you make. This righteousness is not based on your good actions or lack of bad behavior. This righteousness is imparted to you when you receive salvation, and it can’t be taken away. It is the very righteousness of God Himself. What a gift!
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. Romans 3:21-22 NLT
When you make a mistake, remember that it can’t change your righteousness. Sin cannot be imputed to you ever again! (Romans 4:8) Sounds too good to be true? That’s exactly what the Gospel is- nearly too good to be true news!
This brings up the question that many ministers of the Gospel receive, including the Apostle Paul. When you find out that you are forever righteous and sin will never be put on your account, most people ask “Does this mean I can just go live in sin?”
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Romans 6:1-3 NKJV
Paul’s response to this question was basically “God forbid, it’s not even possible!”. If you have received Christ, you have died to sin. The old nature that caused you to sin has been put to death. The more you realize this, the less you will live in sin.
What Paul was saying is that when someone is truly born again and understands the immense grace and goodness that has been given to them, they can’t possibly go live in sin. The Kingdom life is far, far better than anything sin can offer. A life of sin becomes the last thing you would want.
This righteousness that has been given to you is eternal and can not be changed by the mistake you made. Understanding this and then confessing that you are the righteousness of God in Christ even when you make a mistake gives you the power to move forward free from guilt. Guilt and condemnation is Satan’s strategy to keep you trapped in the bad behavior.
I’ve heard many testimonies of believers who were trapped in bad habits who began confessing this truth of their righteousness even in the middle of their bad behavior. As they were smoking that cigarette or watching that pornography they would confess this truth that they are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Something very powerful happened when they did this and before long the power of the bad habit was broken over them. When you know the truth, the truth will make you free.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 NKJV
Take Authority Over Guilt
If we don’t deal with the emotion of guilt that we feel, it can open the door to a demonic spirit of guilt. This spirit will begin to oppress you. Usually this spirit of guilt will bring along shame, fear, self-hate and other spirits with it. At this point, you have to use your authority in Christ to take authority over these spirits and rebuke them. We do this by simply speaking to them in the Name of Jesus. Speak out loud something like this:
“Spirit of guilt, I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus. You can no longer torment me. I command you to leave and not return in the Name of Jesus Christ. I am free by the blood of Jesus.”
This is what I ended up having to do after the recent mistake I made. When I woke up on the second day and was still being tormented by thoughts of guilt and regret, I knew I had to use my authority in Christ. I went into the bathroom and said something very similar to this. Then I chose to focus my mind on who I was in Christ and went about my day. I noticed later that morning that all the torment was gone and it never came back. I never allowed my mind to accept the guilt about that mistake again.
Allow God’s Grace to Cover Your Mistakes
God’s grace is so good that He can take even your mistakes and cause them to work for good in your life. He is masterful at this. He’s so good at it in fact, that many people actually think He caused the bad situation! God does not cause evil to happen so He can teach you something. He uses His Word to teach you (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But when bad situations occur, it will cause most people to be open to learning. Our brains tend to learn really well from mistakes.
Switch your mindset about the mistake to what you can learn from it and then cast it onto the Lord. Allow His grace to cover it. When you do this, eventually you will be able to look back at the situation and see how you grew from it and how it actually worked for your good. When you are God’s child, He can cause even your mistakes to prosper!