7 Verses to Remember When You’ve Messed Up

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7 Verses to Remember When You’ve Messed Up

Have you ever done something you wish you could take back? Maybe it was something you said. Or perhaps a reaction in the moment that you would do differently now that you’ve thought through it. Maybe there is a big mistake that has shaped your life that only a few people know about, or a hidden sin you’ve asked for forgiveness for over and over again. Just when you think you’ve got it taken care of and feel freed from it, the enemy brings it up again and you are forced to deal with your bad choices once again. Guilt and shame resurface and you wonder if this is how it will always be.

Today we are going to take a look at a few verses that give us hope and tell us what to do when we’ve messed up. This is not a step by step look at what to do, it’s more like a list of things you could do if you are struggling with unconfessed sin, confessed sin that still haunts you, or a decision that comes up in your life repeatedly that you are trying to move beyond.

Here are 10 verses to remember when you’ve messed up.

1. Confess It

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Confess it to God and to anyone you feel God wants you to. This doesn’t mean you post it on social media or tell your entire church or neighborhood what you’ve done. It means first, you go to God in humility and prayer and confess your sin – all of it. He already knows, so you might as well go ahead and face Him with it first.

Secondly, if your sin has impacted others, directly affects others, or needs to be known by your close contacts, you go to them in humility and let it be known you have gotten things right with the Lord and want to make it right with them too. If you aren’t sure if you need to talk to more than the Lord about it, ask a trusted mentor or leader in your life.

2. Believe God’s Truth about It

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

Believing God’s truth about our mistakes is probably one of the hardest things some of us face. While we know God forgives, it is difficult to accept that it is truly finished and over.

Our world likes to dig up wrongs, display dirty laundry, and drag those who have made bad choices through the mud. It’s hard to truly realize, receive, and live in the reality that once God forgives sin, it is as far as the east is from the west. Basically that means it is farther than we could ever trace or reach. There is no destination we could arrive at to find that sin again. God has forgiven it. It’s as if it is over. This doesn’t negate the consequences that sometimes comes with choices we make, but when it comes to God’s position with us, He is done with it when we confess and forsake it.

3. Remember God’s Grace Is Enough

“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21).

It can sound churchy to say something like God’s grace is enough. But truly it is in the Bible. Grace is not something that man made up or that we can hope we have enough of. God’s grace is sufficient for the sin of the entire world. Even your sin. Even mine.

Sometimes we get the idea we are too bad or have gone too far that God won’t forgive. But that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible says, “grace abounds.” This is a promise, not a prerequisite for forgiveness. God’s grace is free to those who will receive it.

4. Remember When You Feel Weak, God Is Your Strength

“And he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Once sin is taken care of, more temptation is sure to make its way into your life. This can begin a process of trying to figure out how to overcome temptation or how to be strong.

Here is a great help we gain from Scripture when it comes to temptation following forgiveness – Christ is our strength. And His strength shines when we feel weak. It’s a surrender of self where Christ really begins to work. This is why Paul says we must take up our cross daily. It’s in that realization of our weakness that we find God’s strength carrying us through.

5. Go Boldly to the Throne of Grace

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

It seems simple, yet we often forget. If we want to win the battle over past or present mistakes, we must bring it all to Jesus. When we come to His throne, it’s more than a passive prayer in the moment of weakness. It is a bold approach of pleading for help in the time of need. It’s knowing God can help, and going to Him believing that He will.

6. Remember What Is Most Important to Jesus

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13).

In this verse from Matthew, Jesus is eating with tax collectors and sinners. He had just called Matthew the tax collector to follow him, and now he is answering the nay-sayers who are asking why he is eating with these people.

Jesus gives them an interesting lesson to think about when He says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” It comes down to this. Jesus wanted them to know He wasn’t there for the perfect, sinless people – He wouldn’t be able to find people like that anyway. He also made it clear by quoting this truth from Hosea 6:6, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,” that He wasn’t there for those who could bring sacrifices in accordance with the old law but did not have any mercy.

The focus Jesus wanted them to see was mercy toward each other. This mercy is not only something to give but also something to receive. When we receive the mercy Jesus offers over our sin, we are more apt to give mercy to others over their sin. James says it this way, “Mercy triumphs over judgement.”

7. Ask God to Renew Your Spirit

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

Sin affects our spirit. Whether we want it to or not, there is an effect that lingers until we get it right. In Psalm 51, David is expressing his remorse after his sin with Bathsheba. He knew the only way he could feel relief or forgiveness is if God did the renewing of his spirit. This is important. We cannot renew ourselves. God renews the wrong and makes it right when we ask for forgiveness. So don’t take it upon yourself to try to right your wrong. Go to God and let Him do what only He can do.

No matter how much you have messed up, you are not too far gone. There is forgiveness and there is hope. Remember, mercy and grace is available and free. Forgiveness is accessible. And God isn’t going to hold out on a humble heart that comes to Him for forgiveness.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Koldunova_Anna

Micah Maddox is a wife, mama, friend, Bible teacher, and author of a James: Tired, Tested, Torn, and Full of Faith. You can find encouraging resources FREE HERE! Micah is passionate about helping women learn what it truly means to daily walk with Jesus. She is on the Proverbs 31 Ministries First 5 Writing Team and writes for Encouragement From Women. Her main ministry is at home with her husband, Rob, who leads worship at Clear Springs Baptist Church in East Tennessee, and with her five children, some by birth, and some by adoption. Micah's heart for her local church is what fuels her desire to keep writing, teaching, and serving. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes and speaks to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her on Instagram or micahmaddox.com.