5 Ways Remorse Can Set You Free!

69th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor - Department of Defense Image Collection 

In the U.S. we’re all gearing up to celebrate the 4th of July, our nation’s Independence Day. But there’s another type of freedom you may need to pursue and claim.

Do you:

  • Struggle to let go of the regrets you have regarding past “messes” you’ve made?
  • Continually feel responsible for the pain and consequences others are experiencing?
  • Beat yourself up continually for the ways you’ve failed others?
  • Feel like a “loser” for making mistakes in your past?

Then maybe you’ve not taken proper responsibility for your wrongs.* Maybe you need to feel and express “remorse” rather than giving in to the feelings of guilt and regret. Let me clarify here: If you feel “false guilt” for something you had no control over, then these steps may not help you.* But if you’re responsible or “guilty” of the wrongs you’ve committed, and can’t let go of the feelings of guilt, then you may need to find healing in “remorse.” Otherwise you’ll get stuck—be held hostageby your inward focus. 

Here’s the difference between “remorse” and “lingering guilt”

  • Remorse is active or even better—proactive, whereas guilt leads to a victim-mentality.
  • Remorse takes responsibility, whereas guilt leads to self-pity and wallowing.
  • Remorse is other-centered, whereas guilt is self-centered.

5 Ways to Express and Experience Remorse …

1. Acknowledge your wrong.
By confessing your wrong to God and others affected with an apology that specifically describes the wrongs you committed, you pave the way to freedom.

2. Empathize with those you’ve hurt.
Take the time to consider their losses because of your actions. Let your mental focus be on the offended, instead of on your pain.

3. Listen and understand.
Let them share their pain with you, refraining from “fixing it” or defending yourself. Validate that what you did was hurtful to them—that you “get” that.

4. Make amends.
Find out how you can repay or restore what was damaged. If it can’t be restored, find out what the offended would appreciate from you.

5. Receive God’s forgiveness.
He is able to forgive you because He is “Love.” If you feel you can’t forgive yourself then your focus has shifted to you again, and you’ve just insulted His amazing grace. Remember, His grace is deeper and wider than ANY sin you’ve committed.

This “remorse” is the “Godly sorrow” spoken of in 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Grab hold of it today and live in freedom!

Before I go, let me point out a few “Wise Words” I’d like you to check out. I thought these were amazing posts …

  1. Dealing with Grief: A Practical and Powerful Tool by Tehila
  2. 10 Warning Signs of an Emotionally-Unavailable Man by Lisa
  3. So Long Distraction … by Megan
  4. The Damage of High Self-Esteem Part 3 (all of them are great, though!) by Gail

Photo by Expert Infantry

*Regret and guilt can also be a problem due to PTSD. If these emotions are persistent due to a traumatic event that you were a part of or witnessed, or if you have any other mental disorders, then recognize that you need professional help to deal with this and find healing. Leave it up to your counselor to guide you through what steps you should take.

***********

Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum and T.G.I.F.
 
Now, it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!

WW rules:

Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that reflects Christ’s redemption in your life.

  1. Enter in a permalink directly to your blog post and not the main URL to your blog. 
  2. Be sure to include a link to Wedded Wednesday or add the WW button to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
  3. Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.

Optional but encouraged:

  • Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
  • If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”

Come join our Wednesday Link-up!

  • Ah, this is interesting. I have no problem apologizing and acknowledging my wrong, but I do have greater difficulty shedding the lingering guilt. It’s still a pride issue. Alas, I’m still not perfect! 🙂 Have a great 4th of July, Beth!

    • There are so many intricacies to this issue, Becky. It could have its origin in pride or many other things. But yes, it can be just the pursuit of perfection when all we need to do is embrace how perfectly God loves us! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Becky. You have a great 4th as well, sweet friend!

  • Ah, this is interesting. I have no problem apologizing and acknowledging my wrong, but I do have greater difficulty shedding the lingering guilt. It’s still a pride issue. Alas, I’m still not perfect! 🙂 Have a great 4th of July, Beth!

  • Nan

    Great post as usual! Yes, remorse is the Godly sorrow and guilt is the worldly sorrow. Guilt is the “poor me, I am stuck with this situation or this person” and then gets so involved in ME that it forgets about YOU. Guilt looks backward and remorse goes forward. Guilt looks inward and remorse looks outward.

    I love what you said here: ” If you feel you can’t forgive yourself then your focus has shifted to you again, and you’ve just insulted His amazing grace.”

    • It’s a hard pill to swallow–that we are focusing on ourselves when we feel that lingering guilt, but there’s such freedom in the arms of Christ’s forgiveness. Thanks for your sweet words, Nan. I really appreciate your support and friendship!

  • Nan

    Great post as usual! Yes, remorse is the Godly sorrow and guilt is the worldly sorrow. Guilt is the “poor me, I am stuck with this situation or this person” and then gets so involved in ME that it forgets about YOU. Guilt looks backward and remorse goes forward. Guilt looks inward and remorse looks outward.

    I love what you said here: ” If you feel you can’t forgive yourself then your focus has shifted to you again, and you’ve just insulted His amazing grace.”

  • lorihatcher

    Beth, your thoughts are sound and true. After we’ve moved through the process you’ve described, then we must choose to act in light of the forgiveness God has bestowed upon us, not on how we feel. Faith is taking 1 John 1:9 at its word and recognizing that guilt after forgiveness is a slap in God’s merciful face. Thanks for sharing this important post today!

    • Yes, it is an example of living by our feelings rather than our faith in God’s forgiveness. It’s a subtle problem that many never notice and wonder why they feel as bad as they do! Thanks so much for your kind words and for linking up to your incredible blog!

  • lorihatcher

    Beth, your thoughts are sound and true. After we’ve moved through the process you’ve described, then we must choose to act in light of the forgiveness God has bestowed upon us, not on how we feel. Faith is taking 1 John 1:9 at its word and recognizing that guilt after forgiveness is a slap in God’s merciful face. Thanks for sharing this important post today!

  • There are so many intricacies to this issue, Becky. It could have its origin in pride or many other things. But yes, it can be just the pursuit of perfection when all we need to do is embrace how perfectly God loves us! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Becky. You have a great 4th as well, sweet friend!

  • It’s a hard pill to swallow–that we are focusing on ourselves when we feel that lingering guilt, but there’s such freedom in the arms of Christ’s forgiveness. Thanks for your sweet words, Nan. I really appreciate your support and friendship!

  • Yes, it is an example of living by our feelings rather than our faith in God’s forgiveness. It’s a subtle problem that many never notice and wonder why they feel as bad as they do! Thanks so much for your kind words and for linking up to your incredible blog!

  • Ahhh, you are pressing into the Paschal Mystery. Grieving the old so that you can step into new life. Good post. Thanks Beth!

    • Thanks, Scott. I always love having your wisdom represented here!

  • Ahhh, you are pressing into the Paschal Mystery. Grieving the old so that you can step into new life. Good post. Thanks Beth!

  • Women Abiding

    Thank you so much, dear friend, for mentioning my post as one you found “amazing.” I am both honoured and humbled, and so appreciative of YOUR amazing faithfulness as a sister and friend. Blessings and love to you…

    • It was my pleasure, Tehila! I am very interested in “grief” and always looking for new and helpful tools to pass along to others who are walking that dark journey. Thanks to you for passing along to all of us what God has been teaching you through your painful loss.

  • Women Abiding

    Thank you so much, dear friend, for mentioning my post as one you found “amazing.” I am both honoured and humbled, and so appreciative of YOUR amazing faithfulness as a sister and friend. Blessings and love to you…

  • Lisa

    It’s so true that, in God’s economy, the way up is the way down. “Humble yourself in the sight of The Lord, and He will lift you up.”

    Worldly philosophy usually wants us to shift blame off of us if we feel guilty – replace remorse with blame. But I think that counters what The Lord gave us remorse for – for sincere apologies and making things right.

    Great thoughts, Beth!

    Lisa

    • I know for me the beginning of freedom from my messes was admitting my fault and taking responsibility for my wrongs. God has been faithful to heal what I’d broken through the gift of remorse. He truly gives us everything we need for life and godliness, Lisa. Thanks for encouraging me and joining in the link up, my friend!

  • Lisa

    It’s so true that, in God’s economy, the way up is the way down. “Humble yourself in the sight of The Lord, and He will lift you up.”

    Worldly philosophy usually wants us to shift blame off of us if we feel guilty – replace remorse with blame. But I think that counters what The Lord gave us remorse for – for sincere apologies and making things right.

    Great thoughts, Beth!

    Lisa

  • sarah

    A beautiful way to celebrate freedom.

    I’m splashin’ around looking for some ways to splatter joy into our summer. I would love you to share some of your creative ideas too. Join me in the splash.

    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/07/splatter-it-up.html

    Splashin’,
    Sarah

  • sarah

    A beautiful way to celebrate freedom.

    I’m splashin’ around looking for some ways to splatter joy into our summer. I would love you to share some of your creative ideas too. Join me in the splash.

    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/07/splatter-it-up.html

    Splashin’,
    Sarah

  • Thanks, Scott. I always love having your wisdom represented here!

  • It was my pleasure, Tehila! I am very interested in “grief” and always looking for new and helpful tools to pass along to others who are walking that dark journey. Thanks to you for passing along to all of us what God has been teaching you through your painful loss.

  • I know for me the beginning of freedom from my messes was admitting my fault and taking responsibility for my wrongs. God has been faithful to heal what I’d broken through the gift of remorse. He truly gives us everything we need for life and godliness, Lisa. Thanks for encouraging me and joining in the link up, my friend!

  • Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah!

  • Pingback: Love Your Body | Calm.Healthy.Sexy.()