One day, as I looked in the mirror in my bathroom, I caught a reflection of myself so real. Yet it was completely different from the person standing before the mirror. The reflection was a scene from my past. It felt like I was reliving the moment. Though it happened years ago, I could feel the sensations I had back then when I satisfied my flesh. Shortly after, I started to feel guilty and ashamed for that mistake I made.
Suddenly, I snapped back to my present reality. I’m no longer that girl. God forgave me all my sins when I believed in Jesus. I am forgiven. God is not counting my sins against me. Flashes from my past could pop up but my past doesn’t define me, only Christ does. The Holy Spirit helped me handle that feeling of guilt and shame, and I’m so grateful He did.
If you are a believer who’s struggling with the weight of your past mistakes, this is for you.
Here are 3 ways to handle feelings of guilt and shame from your past
1. Remind yourself of the truth.
No matter how you feel, it’s important to remember what’s true. Don’t allow your feelings to control you. Instead, hold on to the truth. What’s true is what the word of God says about you. Embrace the Word until your feelings catch up. Keep the truth before your eyes, stick notes where you can see them and make it the wallpaper on your phone, if necessary. It helps to guard your mind.
Beyond knowing it, also speak the truth to yourself. I love these words from my pastor. He says,
“You don’t fight thoughts with thoughts, you fight thoughts with words.”
So, learn to speak up. When those feelings of guilt and shame come, counter them with God’s Word. Tell yourself what’s true. God is no longer counting your sins against you (see 2 Corinthians 5:19 and Psalm 103:11-12). You are saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone. God has made you a new person in Christ created for good works (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Take out time to also look up more Scriptures that can help you.
2. Remove triggers from your environment.
Intentionally curate your environment. Keep yourself away from situations or relationships that consistently trigger feelings of guilt and shame. It could mean that you have to change your friends, break off a relationship, throw away an item, or unfollow certain accounts on social media. If it is harmful to your new life in Christ, let it go.
3. Ask for help.
As God’s child, He is always willing and ready to help you overcome struggles. That said, He can also use people to help you. When God saved you, He brought you into a family and He wants us to strengthen one another. You don’t have to deal with these feelings yourself, you can reach out to someone in this family for help. This could be your pastor, a sibling in your local church or a friend who’s also a believer. Open up to someone and let them help you.
I hope that this post reminds you of what’s true and helps you handle your feelings better. Remember, God loves you and He is not counting your sins against you. God has forgiven you so, forgive yourself too.
Let me know what stood out for you in the comment section. Feel free to also share other ways to handle feelings of guilt and shame from the past.