Summary: There is nothing in your past...or future...so heinous, that God cannot forgive a repentant heart.
“It’s not what’s happening today that drags a man down.
It’s remorse over what happened yesterday, and dread of tomorrow.” - man to bartender on Perry Mason episode.
Think about that statement for a moment. There is really a lot of truth in it, you know. Man is basically a fighter. A survivor. Some have more fight in them than others, but for the most part the things that are happening to us today meet with as much resistance as we can muster. When we are in the midst of problems we are so busy fighting that there is little time for either positive or negative reflection concerning it.
Another factor is sin. When our crisis situation is based on sin in our lives, we often have allowed the enemy such a grip on our minds that even when we know in our heart that we’re doing wrong, we feel helpless to stop, or even receive the counsel of those around us, because we have relinquished control to him. But what finally ‘breaks us down’, (emotionally), is the inability to forgive ourselves for past wrongs, failures, weaknesses; and anxiety over what tomorrow holds for us.
These feelings are a result of trusting our own strength, having pride in our own standards.
A.W.Tozer wrote a small book entitled, “That Incredible Christian”. If you can find it, I recommend it to you very highly. There is one chapter in that book that by itself is worth the cost of the book. The chapter is called, “The Futility of Regret”.
Listen to a quote from that chapter.
“Regret frets the soul as tension frets the nerves and anxiety the mind. I believe that the chronic unhappiness of most Christians may be attributed to a gnawing uneasiness lest God has not fully forgiven them, or the fear that He expects as the price of His forgiveness some sort of emotional penance which they have not furnished. As our confidence in the goodness of God mounts our anxieties will diminish and our moral happiness rise in inverse proportion.”
We are going to study here, a story of a man who could have allowed his failure to utterly destroy him. A man who went so completely against his own convictions and his own self-image, that he could have slipped into a rut of remorse and despondence that might have brought him to the same end as Judas Iscariot.
(Read Luke 22:31-34, 54-62)
Most of us have, in our past, failures and mistakes that at the time seemed devastating to us. In a way, they may have been devastating. They may have seemed, as a single incident, to turn our lives to an entirely different path than we thought we would take.
We can all remember times in our life, just the memory of which can cause us to cringe inside with embarrassment or shame as we relive the moment in our mind.
But try to put yourself in Peter’s sandals for a moment.
Imagine that you are sitting by a fire warming yourself, as the one you call Lord and Savior is being beaten and spit upon and ridiculed. You are a burley, boisterous fisherman who mends nets with gnarled hands, hauls loads of fish over the side of a boat with powerful shoulders, and guides the vessel through the raging storms of the Sea of Galilee with legs and arms of steel.