As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed this morning, I came across an interesting post. A friend of mine likes to ask questions and today she was asking her friends to share something from their past that they regret the most.
As I read that question, I sat back in my chair and thought about it for a second. It was not hard to think of my many regrets. There are things like being disrespectful to my parents, prioritizing time with girlfriends over family, and even the selfish attitude I carried through much of high school. But there are deeper things I carry too.
I carry the regret of cancelling my visit to my aunt’s house a couple of weeks before she passed away. I carry the regret of not visiting my grandma more often as her health deteriorated. I carry the regret of the things I told people while I was struggling with emotional pain. I carry the regret of so many things in my life.
And as I sat there thinking about all of these things, I couldn’t help but start to feel a bit of guilt. I started telling myself that I should have known better. Afterall, I knew God and therefore I knew what God expected of me. But time and time again, I had allowed myself to be reactionary to my emotions rather than responsive to God’s love living within me. And because of that, I was convincing myself that I was a bad Christian for having let that happen.
This is part of the reason why I was so afraid to read through my bible for the longest time. Every time I read through it, I read of some law or rule that I had broken throughout my life. And the more this happened, the more I walked away from my bible. Instead of finding life and freedom through scripture, I was finding condemnation. So I chose to walk away from reading scripture because I did not want to read a book that was condemning me. I had enough of that in the world around me.
See, condemnation is a horrible burden to carry. Condemnation will always tell us that we are not enough. Condemnation will always tell us that we are too broken to be put back together. Condemnation will always tell us that we have no hope for a better future. Condemnation tells us that we are slaves to our evil ways and are powerless to do better. Condemnations tells us that we are slaves to sin, and sin makes us unacceptable before God.
But here is the thing. I don’t believe that condemnation was meant for people; condemnation was meant for sin. Romans 8 reminds us that “God has done what the law could not do, he condemned sin” (Rom. 8:3).
You see, the law we read about in scripture was meant to condemn sin, but instead we allowed the law to condemn us. And in doing so, we gave sin and the law a power over us that they were never meant to have. The rules you read about in scripture, were never meant to hold any power over us. They were supposed to give us power over sin. The law was to point to how bad sin is, but instead we allowed the law to point to how bad we are. But that is not the truth that God is saying to you.
The truth God wants you to hear through scripture is that by inviting God into your life, you are not condemned. In fact, not only are you not condemned, you are given the tools necessary to have power over the things that once condemned you.
Whatever regrets you carry from your past, you are not a bad person. You are a good person who made a bad mistake. And whatever that regret may be, not only are you not condemned, but those regrets have no power over you.
A couple of years ago, I was telling a mentor about some of my past mistakes and regrets and he looked at me and said: “Fernie, stop letting them control you. Share your past with the world, so that the world can see what a relationship with God can do in your life.” That stuck with me. And the more I have learned to put that into practice, the more freedom I find in my life. (The less condemnation I feel as well).
You see, I know today that reading the bible was never meant to make me feel guilty about my past. It was actually meant to give me power and freedom over my past. Whatever it is that you are struggling with today, I hope that you too can come to know and experience this same freedom in your life through scripture. You are not condemned. You are fee. Free from your past, free from your regrets and free from condemnation. So live life freely, just as it was meant to be lived.
Together on the journey,