Do they ever go away? The "if only" questions. If only I had been a better mother, my child wouldn't have committed suicide. If only I had been a better wife, we wouldn't have gotten a divorce. If only I had been a better child, my parents wouldn't have separated. If only I were a better Christian, I wouldn't suffer from depression. If only I had done things differently...
I searched my heart for the right answer for this dear woman who was looking back with regret, placing so much of the blame on herself. I want to share with you what I shared with her since I know Satan uses the same tactics on each of us.
In his book Bondage Breaker, Neil Anderson describes a courtroom scene in heaven like the one mentioned in Revelation 12:10 where Satan is the accuser of the brethren who accuses us before God day and night:
At the same time Satan accuses us before God, his emissaries also accuse us personally by bombarding our minds with false thoughts of unworthiness and unrighteousness in God's sight. But Satan is not your judge; he is merely your accuser. Yet if you listen to him and believe him, you will begin to live out these accusations as if they were a sentence you must serve.
You may wonder, "What's the difference between the devil's accusations and the Holy Spirit's conviction?" Paul provided a clear distinction between the two in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.
"Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (he was writing to believers so this is not our eternal salvation, but rather life) and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death" (again, not eternal death since he is writing to believers).
The false guilt of this world and the Holy Spirit's conviction both have the same feeling of sorrow. However, the sorrow resulting from Satan's accusations leads to death (defeat), while the sorrow of conviction leads to repentance and life without regret.
Do you feel guilty, worthless, stupid or inept? That's a sorrow provoked by accusation because those feelings don't reflect truth.
When you find lies lurking beneath your feelings of sorrow - especially if your feelings persistently drive you into the ground - you are being falsely accused. To disarm the sorrow of accusation, you must submit yourself to God and resist the devil and his lies.
God does not want you to keep looking back with regret at things in the past which cannot be undone. The beautiful thing is that not only has God declared you forgiven, He has removed your filthy garments of unrighteousness and clothed you with spotless garments. Believe me when I say, He is not out to punish you for your past failures - He loves you unconditionally.
Step forward knowing that your righteous standing with God is secure and that Satan is already defeated. God is calling you to walk in daily victory through a response of obedience. Step forward into His presence every day and allow Him to transform your mind. He will teach you how to refute the accusations of the enemy and put the accuser in his place.
Stay in step with the Spirit and you will be empowered to live beyond your natural strength and abilities.
A prayer for you to pray:
Gracious Father, you say in your Word that you are my strong defender and you will take up my case against my enemy (Ps 23:11). In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Free me from the trap of accusations that is set before me, for you are my refuge (Ps 31: 1,4)
Enable me to daily live victoriously over Satan and sin as I walk in close communion with you.
As you did for David in Psalm 30:11, turn my wailing into dancing; remove my sackcloth and clothe me with joy.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love. Amen
Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~