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Overcoming Your Past Mistakes

By Yvonne Ortega,
Licensed Professional Counselor

CBN.com“I hate myself,” Barbie said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “I hate myself for being in prison when my mother died.”

“Your mother was a godly woman,” I said. “She’s at home in heaven and forgave you long ago.”

“But I haven’t forgiven myself,” she moaned. “I’m full of guilt and shame.”

Pete suffers from the pain of divorce. He relives all the things he said and did that destroyed the relationship. As a single parent, he senses the pain his children endure going from one parent’s home to the other, especially over the holidays.

Judy struggles with health problems because of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. Harry is a recovering alcoholic but his drinking days left him with hepatitis C. Paul and Sherry take medication for genital herpes, a reminder of their promiscuous past. You might be able to relate to Barbie, Pete, Judy, Harry, Paul, or Sherry.

Nothing can erase Barbie’s prison time. Pete’s divorce was final a few years ago, and the effects on Judy’s health from poor habits aren’t reversible. Harry endures the consequences of his beer bashes. Paul and Sherry can only hope for a cure for genital herpes but, in the meantime, must continue their medication.

God still loves them all, and He loves you too. No matter what you’ve done, God loves you. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for your sins. Tell God how sorry you are for your past wrongs.

The last words of Jesus before his death were, “It is finished!” (John 19:30 NASB). He didn’t say, “It is finished except for criminals, divorced people, those who damage their health, alcoholics, and a list of others too numerous to mention.” He simply said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30 NASB).

Psalm 103: 10-13 (NASB) says:
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.”

Dear friend, God longs to give you “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB). You’ve attempted to control your life and it hasn’t worked. You can’t undo the past, but you can change the present and the future with the Lord’s help. Surrender to God. Give Him a chance to mend your broken heart and transform your life into something beautiful. Nothing you’ve said or done will shock God or repulse Him. He waits to forgive you. Apologize to those you’ve hurt and make amends to the best of your ability.

The promises of Psalm 103:10-13 and Jeremiah 29:11 can apply to your life now. Copy these verses and place them on your bathroom mirror, your kitchen cupboard, or wherever you’ll see them often. Make the words your personal prayer.

God is in the miracle business. He performed miracles in the past, and He still does. Hebrews 13:8 (NASB) says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Now is the time to kneel or stand before the Lord, stretch your hands toward heaven, and accept the overflow of love, forgiveness, and peace that only He can give.


Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega. Used by permission.

Yvonne OrtegaYvonne Ortega is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, speaker, and author. She is the author of Hope for the Journey through Cancer (Revell 2007) and a contributing author to The Embrace of a Father ( Bethany House, 2006). She has also been published in Spirit-Led Writer, The Secret Place, The Quiet Hour, The Virginia Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors VAADAC Views, and other magazines. You can find out more about her at www.yvonneortega.com. Her blog, Stepping Stones for Survival, is on her Web site.

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