The Guilt of Moving On

“This isn’t about guilt or innocence. The point is, it’s time to turn a page.”

I messed up. I can see someone saying “we all make mistakes…no one is perfect.” True, but I messed up, and am having a hard time dealing with it. This will probably be one of the most transparent things I’ve written to share publicly. No…I am not going to serve some “piping hot tea”, but instead be very real about what I am currently experiencing.

A choice can be a mistake, but all choices are not mistakes…sometimes our choices are intentional. Let me explain…

If I check the weather and it says it will rain, and I think to myself “I’m not going to be out long, I can beat the rain. I’ll just leave my umbrella in the car.”, when I get caught in the rain with no umbrella, I can honestly say this choice was a mistake. I mistakenly thought that I would be finished before the rain came. Now if I know that I’m going to be long, and getting caught in the rain is definite, and I still choose not to grab the umbrella…well I just chose to get caught in the rain. This was no mistake.

My choice, was no mistake. I knew I was getting caught in the rain, and some days decided to dance in it. Never was I proud of this, but I allowed myself to stay in it. Several times, in fact, I tried to escape it only to return. Finally, I decided once more…no more rain, and I sought counsel to assure that I had accountability so that I wouldn’t return. I also sought counsel to confess and repent, so that I could be free and move forward. All of the above were accomplished, though I am not walking away from this unscathed…

In the process of me playing in the rain, my actions were hurting someone. I honestly never intended for this person to know my actions were affecting them, but our sins have a way of finding us out. Carrying the responsibility of causing someone else immense pain is a heavy burden to bear. Now I know many love to quote and argue that God has forgiven me, so I am forgiven…and I believe this with my whole heart. I have confessed, both to God and the person that I have wronged, and I am forgiven. Ironically enough, the person was pretty adamant about wanting me to understand that they aren’t angry with me. You’d think this would make me feel better, but it doesn’t…

While I am forgiven, and the person holds no grudge…they are still hurting from something that I chose to do. My choices caused and continues to cause them emotional and mental agony. So how can I say “I’m forgiven. Now I can move on” when I know things aren’t just that easily handled for them. It seems selfish to drag them in a pit with me, and once I am rescued, walk away and leave them in the mess I made. It’s not fair.

So now I battle with moving forward for my own healing and restoration (because I too was hurt in all this), and feeling guilty for actually doing so.

Normally there’s a lesson I have learned or a moral to my story…not this time. I ‘m sort of at a loss. So, If you’re reading this, please say a prayer for me. Thanks.

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Not Ready To Quit

“Nothing so wretched as a guilty conscience.”

“All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”-Romans 3:23

We sin. All of us. It’s in our human nature to do wrong. It doesn’t mean we are [all] bad people, it just means we are human. It is what it is…the best of us actually care when we know we’ve messed up, and as a result, experience guilt.

While I recognize that some who read this do not subscribe to Biblical principles…I ask that you stick with me on this one…I believe you still will be able to relate.

So, 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I believe this, and do in fact confess daily because I know I mess up…daily. Again, human.

So at least twice now, I’ve been in prayer and confessing to God about things I know that I’ve been doing that I shouldn’t have…both times I felt like I was just going through the motions. I was admitting my wrongdoing, but didn’t feel the guilt of it lift. So normally, when I pray about things, I feel an emotional, spiritual, mental, and sometimes even a physical lifting of the burden. These times, in particular, I realized why I was still feeling the burden of guilt…I wasn’t ready to quit.

Let me see if I can be a bit more clear about what I’m trying to convey without telling all my business…

We will say I was stealing cookies out of the cookie jar. I know for a fact that stealing the cookies is wrong, but they’re so good. So I keep admitting and asking forgiveness of stealing the cookies, but I know, when the opportunity presents itself again, I’m going to take more cookies.

My guilt wasn’t being lifted because I knew in my heart, that I wasn’t ready to quit doing what I knew was wrong.

Finally I said…”You know what Lord, I know this is wrong, and I’m really not ready to quit…but I want to want to quit. Change my heart and my desires.” We don’t have to put on a front in prayer…God already knows what we think and feel. When we attempt to mask what we truly think and feel, we are only hindering ourselves…we certainly aren’t tricking God.

I’m sure all of us have done something that we’ve felt guilty for doing, whether we believe the Bible to be true or not. The thing is making up in our minds to move forward, exercising discipline and restraint to prevent ourselves from continuing unhealthy behaviors that may turn into habits. Be honest with yourself (and anyone who may be directly affected by your choices), and say “hey, I’ve done this thing, and while I know it’s wrong/harmful, I enjoy it…but would like to stop.” I mean, as cliche as it is…admitting you have a problem really is the first step to rectifying it.