"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16, NIV).
I am not ashamed of the gospel . . . but sometimes I am ashamed of other things. Poorly chosen words spoken in a flood of emotion. Parenting choices I wish I'd handled differently. Memories of past mistakes.
Shame. Regret. Guilt. Remorse. Self-reproach. Conviction. Condemnation. These dark feelings can haunt us, like heavy burdens we carry upon our backs or like a dark mark we think brands us for life. Often, they're all jumbled together in our lives in a dark and discouraging tangle of I'm-no-good-ness.
But the truth is that these feelings are not all the same. While some lead us to darkness, others can be pathways toward light—toward forgiveness, humility, maturation, gratitude, freedom, and greater commitment to Christ. The difference is made in how we respond to shame and guilt: Will we wallow in the mire? Or will it prod us toward contrition—toward walking in new life and deepened love?
This issue of Today's Christian Woman will help you uncover the invitations to joy and freedom hidden within those hard experiences of shame and regret. In 'Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda," author and Her.meneutics contributor Michelle Van Loon helps us tease out the tangle between regret, remorse, and repentance, illuminating the redemptive role even regret can play within the framework of the Christian life. From serious regrets to "I wish I would have" misgivings, Michelle's insights will help you give voice to your own struggles.1