A recent set of questions
has caused me to reflect again on an issue I faced and dealt with in my social group in college. From a psychological, spiritual, and counseling point of view, it’s something that does arise periodically and should be handled with care and wisdom. The issue is this — finding a balance between spending too much time thinking about mistakes made in the past, and moving on with life. I’ve met a few people who just find it so very difficult to get over feelings of guilt and shame regarding things they have done or said somewhere in their past. For them, it’s a great stumbling block, a hurdle that they just can’t seem to get over. A lot of depression cases are
based on this sort of thing. They just wish they could go back and fix it, that doing so would make their present lives so much better. (The trouble is that it probably wouldn’t actually fix
things as much as they expect.)
There is a distinct difference between being stuck in the past and beating oneself up over past mistakes and learning from those same mistakes. Granted, it is sometimes VERY easy to get hung up on those things, but doing so really serves no practical purpose and leads nowhere good. Instead, and this takes a great amount of work and not a little bit of pain, effort must be made to pick up the pieces, face the consequences squarely, and use the situation, however
unpleasant, to learn wisdom, endurance, and patience. The interesting part of this is that, if you allow it, these situations can be some of the best learning periods and spiritual development times you will ever face. The moments when I felt closest to God, when I matured most as a Christian, were probably in some of the darkest times of my life. It was hard to get through, and I did feel guilt and shame and even a little bit of depression, and I didn’t always like the consequences, but that was okay because when I relied on God I found it all that much easier to deal with and I learned greater wisdom than if I had fixated on the unpleasantness of my circumstances and shunned God.