We've all been there. "I swore I would never do this again and yet, here I am doing the same thing over and over." You said you'd never talk to your wife or husband that way. You'd never yell at your kids the way you were yelled at. You'd never look at those images on a screen again because you know it's unhealthy for you. And yet you make the same mistake again.
"Do I even bother praying this time? Why ask for forgiveness if I know I'm just going to struggle again and make the same mistakes?"
You screwed up. Again. Now what?
Here are 3 things God wants you to do next time you screw up:
1. Know that You are Loved
God's love never ceases. In those moments where you find yourself repeating the same mistakes it's easy to think that somehow God's love for you has changed. Nothing could be further from the truth. How freeing is it to know that nothing you do changes God's feelings toward you? What kind of confidence does that bring to your relationship with God? How much more does that make you want to stay faithful to Him?
2. Confess Your Sin and Receive Mercy
If we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive our sins and to cleanse us (1 John 1:9) When we take the time to admit that what we've done is wrong, we're seeing our actions the same way that God does. God will then cast our sin as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). God's mercy never runs out. It never ends. He never grows tired of forgiving us. How awesome is that?
3. Move On
It's so easy to fall into the trap of constant guilt and shame. It can become paralyzing in our lives. Yet, God's mercies are new every morning. Every sunrise is a reminder to us that it is a new day. It's a fresh start. Yesterday's actions and mistakes don't have to weigh us down anymore. The day is new, God's mercy is new, and you have a fresh start. Don't let yesterday's choices keep you from living God's best today.
The reality is, you will mess up. If Paul, the guy who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, struggled with this (Romans 7), it's safe to say that you will too. As your Creator, God knew the decisions you would make and continues to love you and forgive you anyway.