So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
~~~2 Corinthians 5:17
We all live with a certain level of guilt for our past failures and fear of what we may face in the future. A recent article in Psychology Today points out that guilt is a natural reaction to harming another physically or emotionally. We can not avoid all guilt. but we can keep it from being the guiding force of our lives. Nouwen reminds us that guilt of the past can make us absent from the present. Guilty people become angry and lash out at the nearest target. They become paralyzed with fear and usually overreact to situations.
Guilt also taints our future actions and causes us to have a fear of fully living our present day. We are so afraid that we will repeat our mistakes that we do just that. How many times have you sat dazed by something that you have done in the past and missed an opportunity in the present? Our unresolved guilts are like a “snoozing alarm,”and they are just waiting for a chance to go off again.
Our task is to resolve those guilts and live the present moment to the fullest. Paul told the Corinthian church that being in Christ was being a new creation. Such a new creation is blessed with the renewal of life. We cannot erase the past, but we can renew ourselves through the grace of God. As we trust in the grace of God to redeem us, we can be assured that the same grace will relieve us of the burden of guilt and allow us to live to the fullest. Nouwen speaks of the “oughts” of life that keep us guilty and frozen in the present and the future. Because Christ has redeemed us we need not be burdened with the “oughts” of life but to simply live the day, and the “oughts” will take care of themselves.
Going boldly and unreservedly into the future is a daunting task. We all carry our guilt to some degree like a weight upon our shoulders. Let me say again that we have the grace of God to solve this problem. He has promised us that as we live for him, he will make our lives grand. Today I ask you to put the past to bed with the soothing grace of a God who loves us so dearly. It is like an ointment that heals a wound.
Lord, The biggest challenge I face is to be present in the moment. My mind loads me down with guilt of past failures and fear of future failures. Make it possible for me to be present in this moment that you have given me, and know that you will continue to give me what I need to move forward. I ask you to bestow upon me the joy of this day so that I may journey victoriously into tomorrow.