The greatest need any of us have is to be sure that our guilt has been handled. This pertains to our future, present and our past. In our current series on dealing with guilt, I wanted to bring out how to deal with our "innocent past" and our "guilty past."
Our primary guilty past has to do with the sin we are are born with.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12 (NLT)
We are all guilty before God and that must be taken care of by entering into a salvific relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the greatest need you and I have in relationship to our past and that our imputed guilt has been handled. We must be sure that our sin has been washed away by the blood of our precious Lamb of God.
Once we are certain of our reconciliation to God, we must then seek the forgiveness of the person or persons we have sinned against. This can be difficult due to length of years that have past, sometimes the people we have sinned against are deceased and we have no opportunity to confess our guilt to them and ask their forgiveness. I would urge you to do the best you can with this and attempt to reconcile with them through repentance and confession.
The problem with discussions about the past is the person is always the “innocent party” therefore, the “victim”. The theory is that the reason the person is having trouble today is because all these people in the past were evil- therefore it is not her fault. But it is not that simple- there were of course situations where I was innocent- someone was evil to me- but my response was wicked- or the habits I developed after that event were wicked. Sometimes my behavior was wicked from the start.
One of our greatest needs in this area is to discern what sinful habits we have developed in the past that shed light on the areas that we are struggling with today. Where there is sin, it must be confessed, to God and to the other person. If restitution is necessary, it must be made. If It Has Been Confessed, Rejoice In God’s Forgiveness, Learn The Lessons You Need To Learn, And Move On.
In other words, don’t wallow in the confessed past. How do you know if you are wallowing? If there's no rejoicing, there’s no learning, there’s no moving on. Have you noticed that there is no productivity when you wallow? If you are wallowing today you are simply in another form of slavery to the past; but this slavery is self-inflicted.
What is the godly purpose in regularly going back and reminding yourself of sins you have committed in the past? You have confessed them- stop beating yourself over the head with them!
Do you see how moody you are? Do you realize that this makes you discouraged and depressed? Stop it!
Living this way is preventing you from reaching out to others, it is preventing you from reaching in and serving others. And, most importantly- it is stopping you from putting the proper amount of effort into growing in the present, because you are too consumed with the past.