Because there's freedom in powerful


  • Peter Appiah Jr

Shame, guilt, and regret. Most of us have had bouts with these emotions. In retrospect, it’s good to have, it means we are human. Emotions like shame, guilt and regret can be the catalyst that can show us empathy and sympathy. The issue reveals itself once the thoughts linger. When it comes to the word “dwell” we always want to make sure that the word is associated with God, His atmosphere, presence, word, etc… As believers we want to dwell wherever God is concerned. But what happens when we dwell on other things? What happens when we dwell on the thoughts of our past or current misgivings that are not so close to God. What is the result of that and where does that leave us?

It leaves us in a place of uncertainty. We can end up uncertain about ourselves, uncertain about our relationship with others and uncertain about our relationship with God. While our relationship with ourselves and others may be at a standstill, there can always be a progression with our relationship with God. Even if we feel like it can not.

What comes next is up to you.

What God says about “Shame, Guilt, and Regret”

Whenever we commit a sin against God, ourselves and one another, how many times do we actually turn to God? I know for myself that whenever I have done something to feel guilty, I take the opportunity to do so, more often than going to God first. It is easier to dwell on our actions and allow shame, guilt and regret to be stamped onto us. To identify us. Our emotions come easy and natural. Just as when something great happens we get happy, if the opposite occurs why wouldn’t we feel sad? Why wouldn’t we dwell on our mistakes when we also have the habit to dwell on our successes?

It is honestly easier for us to think negatively because through my experience, darker thoughts can come naturally. Although we may know God, fleshly instincts still can be so strong. Which is why it is so important for us to turn to Him. Praying and reading the word (Bible), is a way to talk to Him and to hear from Him. Let’s try doing that together. Earlier I asked what does God say about shame, guilt and regret? Let’s find out:

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

“If we confess our sins”. IF we confess our sins. It all starts with confessing to Him and creating a posture of repentance. We need to be honest about the things we have done, allow ourselves to acknowledge what is the root of our shame and give it to God. By having a heart of repentance or giving it to Him, we allow ourselves to truly pour our hearts out to God. Trust in Him to know that He will “forgive us our sins” and for Him to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Once we have been cleansed, we need to know that those feelings of guilt and shame do not belong to us anymore. The feeling may not go away, but “guilt” is just a feeling. Feelings are extremely fickle. What is strong and rooted in truth is the Word. The Word is one way God communicates with us. So let us believe and know that over how we feel because sometimes our feelings can not be trusted. Only God can.

Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

We are radiant! Never be ashamed! We may feel that we are ashamed or are shameful but again, what does mere feelings have to do with what is said about us by God? As long as we look to Him we are radiant. Our “faces shall never be ashamed.” No ifs or buts. We need to believe and know that. We can not leave uncertainty in what we know of God. Especially since He is telling us that we shall never be ashamed. There is a difference between our understanding of shame and the Lord’s understanding of shame. His ways are not our ways, our thoughts are not His thoughts, because of this when we feel shame, it does not mean that the Lord is ashamed of us. What matters the most is how our God sees us over the world. If He says we are radiant, then what are we? I’ll let you answer that one.

John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Just as it is said. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” That is a direct promise, but again there is an “if”. It is important to recognize and realize there is work to be done on our end before God can deliver us from bondage. Constant feelings of shame, guilt and regret is bondage. The Son sets you free if you give yourself to Jesus. He sets you free if you repent your past ways, declare Him as your saviour. If you are a believer and are reading this, then please remember this: You have already been set free. Shame is no longer on you, guilt is no longer on you. Just because it feels like it, it does not mean it is. Instead of looking back, let’s look forward. God is with us, and is also waiting for us ahead. We just have to take those first couple of steps.

It really all comes down to reminding ourselves that if God has forgiven us, then we need to forgive ourselves. He has told us that as long as we are in Him we are forgiven, there is no shame in us and that we are free. Let’s try our best to have that same grace for ourselves that God has already placed on us.

The Big Picture:

I decided to talk about shame, guilt, and regret because we can all relate. It is one thing to measure the hurt that has been caused because of us but it is another to hold on to it. Because of this and through my experiences in hurting other people, myself and God, I know how it can lead to a lonely path full of self loathing and un-forgiveness of oneself. It can feel like the earth trembles as the ground opens and swallows you up. Suffocating on the shame and guilt because one way or another it is your fault. But in the darkness, there are cracks of light that still makes it way through. It is through that light God speaks. His words like hands that lift us up out of our own thoughts and back into His palace. Where His Son died on the cross in exchange for our own keys to the entrance. There is always a way out and back into His arms. And That is what matters.

Other Passages:

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Questions we should all think about:

Who is the first person I go to when talking about my shame, guilt or regret?

How often do I turn to God when I have done something I regret?

What is keeping me from making God my first choice of help?

Prayer: Almighty Father, forgive me for my sins, forgive me for not putting you first in all that I do. Give me the strength to acknowledge my wrongdoings and to move forward in you. Convict me whenever I am in times of need and forget to call upon your Holy name. Thank you for freeing me in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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Updated: Apr 24, 2020

From a Christian Male Perspective

Written By: Paul Farrell, Co-Creator of PeterandPaul.Faith

Introduction: For many of us healing is scary. In reality, we are all healing from something. Some of us may be healing from a breakup, a friendship that went sour, separation from your spouse or a divorce, an addiction, parental neglect, loss of a loved one and more. Some of these pains sound familiar while others may not, but still we have all experienced pain on so many different levels. So today I ask you, how do we respond to these pains and hurts in a healthy and freeing way, either as a christian or a non-believer? 

I believe that through my experience with the above, I have identified three steps to healing that worked for me. I still encourage you to pray and ask God what he is saying to you in your journey to healing. 

Message Big Idea: Time can heal physical wounds, but it can not heal your heart. Healing is found in the cross of Jesus Christ, it’s found in community, in his word, in spending time with him. Most importantly, healing starts with forgiving yourself.

Prayer & Thoughts: Dear Jesus, thank you for being sovereign and in control over every aspect of our lives. Lord, I pray that this read would help us to find healing from our past pains and trauma. I pray that we would walk away from this article more whole and healed than before; I pray that we would fall deeper in love with Jesus, walking in a loving fellowship with him. In Jesus name, Amen!

Scripture of encouragement:  Whenever I experience a loss I am reminded of the story of Job. Using this chapter of the bible as a framework to analyze our pain I hope it gives you more clarity on my personal experience and the three actions steps.

1. Embrace Your Pain: (Job 3:1-26) The first step to being free from your pain is to press into what has become your new reality and let your heart break.

Probably the easiest thing to say, but the hardest to act on. The pain you are experiencing will hurt a lot. One of the first reactions we all have when things become painful is to run from the pain instead of trying to get some help. Many of our defense mechanisms hinder us from actually experiencing freedom because we neglect to realize the truth of our reality. We put up walls to block out what’s really going on in our hearts. 

Do me a favor.  Do not allow yourself to become busy at a suicidal attempt to move on. It won’t work. Instead, I urge you to slow down and cry. Take a day of solitude to journal out your thoughts, to pray with a friend, or seek out counseling and spend an entire month attending sessions. 

My mentor, Moses Sanchez, reminded me of our biblical classes during Cru’s 2017 staff conference. Aside from the knee dropping worship sessions, we discussed scriptures on lamenting. In fact, I learned that in the bible there is a book that illustrates a city’s great sorrow called, Lamentations. As we sat in class, I realized that I often lament over the losses I face. So how did I become conditioned to block out my feelings? 

As men we hold onto our pain and emotions, instead I encourage you to lament after you’ve experienced great loss. Yes, I know it’s uncomfortable. But allow yourself to mourn aloud and cry in the deepest moments of your fear, anxiety and pain. Now, we know that God doesn’t want us to become isolated from the world. So, as a reminder, this step is an encouragement to embrace your new reality while fixing your posture towards true freedom in Christ Jesus.

Job3: 26 I have no peace! I have no quiet! I have no rest! And trouble keeps coming!”

Story Time:

After experiencing my first breakup, I became angry and I mean who wouldn’t ? The first thing I did (which is what any human being with a heart would do) is cry. Not in front of her of course, but in my brown Hyundai Sonata. I cried hard. I cried of anger, disbelief, and disgust that I would allow myself to end up this way. I started punching the steering wheel right on the Hyundai emblem until my knuckles bleed. Honestly, it’s what I needed. 

If I hadn’t had a real emotional response the numbness of my situation would plague me today.  We committed so much time, energy, and effort. Afterwards, it feels meaningless. I had just graduated college and after considering what the next 3 months would look like for me the last thing I wanted was relational uncertainty. My experience reminds me of what Job went through. Out of a place of progression, Job experienced great loss. He lost all of his wealth, the death of all of his children, and to me it seemed that his life was over. Although, later on in scripture we see that Job made a decision to praise God and lean into his promises despite his pain (Job 1:20-22).

2. Embrace Community: The second step is to get around a Christian Community or make your closest friends your siblings.

What helped me to get through the day to day healing was not being alone. Get around your friends. These are the people who will pray for you when you don’t ask for it and will allow you to cry without passing judgement.  If you don’t have unbiased friends, consider going to counseling. Our pride can hinder us from experiencing the freedom that counselors provide. Don’t let your mental health fall jeopardy to your circumstances and embrace the freedom that it will bring in your life.

During the first three days of my breakup I stayed in a friend's dorm room and talked about my raw emotions with him. I knew that being alone in my room would cause me to go into a slight depression and be isolated from the world. Despite my anger, I decided not to soak in my pain. As I look back, it was a pivotal moment for my healing process and it honestly was the most influential along my journey.

Throughout your journey to feeling whole again, a lot of people will give you advice; moreover, the most common phrase you will hear is that “Time heals all wounds.” During my connect group at Destiny Church, I stepped into a christian men's group designed around a curriculum called “Freedom” and their week 7 lesson activated what I was believing God for in my heart. 

“You’ve got to bury the past”? Well, the fact is, you can’t. It will find its way to the surface at some point. We hear that time heals all wounds, but that is also untrue. Only the Holy Spirit can heal. Concealing the past never works.

Proverbs 28:13 (NIV) says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” The Bible also says that confessing our sins and praying for one another actually helps us find healing and wholeness. ( James 5)”- Senior Pastor Chris Hodges, Church of the Highlands, Freedom Curriculum

As Christians we are called “set apart” and “christ ambassadors” (Hebrews 10:20; GW; 1 Peter 2:9 NLT; 2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT). So, as encouragement let’s live it out.

Time can heal physical wounds, but it can not heal your heart. After all, your heart is a muscular organ and it heals differently. Only God can heal your heart and the deeper pain you’ve faced. 

Find forgiveness in your current situation. Whether you’ve experienced hurt from a close relative, business partner, a friend who wronged you, or an ex-partner. It is a mistake to let your anger towards them allow you to be stuck and hinder your growth track towards real freedom. 

Don’t allow yourself to get bitter, instead get around your most trusted friends, repent of any unforgiveness, and pray for God to heal your heart.

3.  Draw closer to God: The third step is to spend time with him in prayer, in his word, and in community.

“12 When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. 13Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words, (Job 2:12-13; NLT).”

The response from Job’s friends is the most memorable moment for me in this chapter of scripture. I wonder if this is how God responds to our deepest tragedy? Does he send words of encouragement and hope in our greatest sorrow even in silence? Does he respond in complete sadness and heartbreak in the same way that our heart is breaking from our situation? Indeed, he is with us. 

If you have never experienced the freedom of salvation before, this all seems foreign and if you have, it is likely you may have forgotten this sweet truth. We have a God that we can go to for he hears us. What we both need is simple: Jesus. Along our journey it is important to grow closer to Jesus, now more than ever. When we get sick, where do we go to find healing? Well we go to the hospital to become healthy again. In the same way we too should seek the surgeon who can heal our heart. 

 I encourage you to join your church's small group, start a devotional in the bible app, or read the entire book of Job. Whatever you decide, allow yourself to be broken, find help from friends, and grow closer to Jesus Christ who hears your cries and wants to hold you in his arms.

Friend, only by experiencing God’s love will we ever feel healed or whole again. Let these three nuggets be the secret sauce to your personal journey to healing.

Questions to Consider

1. How can I practice healthy ways of embracing my pain or Lamenting ?

2. What is God trying to show me about my heart during this season ?

3. What Christian friends or community can I connect to during my healing? 

4. How can I draw closer to God in this season?

Notable Influencers and Contributors

The following Churches and Organizations:; Destiny Church; Senior Pastor Chris Hodges, Church of the Highlands, Freedom Curriculum; Bible Gateway

The Following Editors: Eddie Bennett, Lauren Novsak

The Following Thought Leaders: Peter Appiah, Aleesia Medina, Moses Sanchez

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