Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Overcoming Regrets in the New Year

At the end of a calendar year, we often take a few moments to look back over the past 12 months and evaluate. We sort through the good things, the fun times, and the mountain-top experiences. Problem is; the past year also had its fair share of bumps and bruises and stuff that we’d rather forget. As a leader, small group or other, reflecting on the last year is a mixed bag.

So, the question is: How do we learn from our mistakes? How can we overcome the tough stuff?

Here are three tips to navigate the next year with more grace and truth:

1. Confession
Bring your “stuff” before God. Ask Him to forgive your actions, your motives, the things you said, and the things you did that were sinful.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
As a Christ-follower, your confession is not for your salvation (justification), rather it is for our purification (sanctification). It allows us to be up-to-date with our Heavenly Father.

2. Confession – Part II
The Father has forgiven you, because of the work of Jesus on the cross, but your brother or sister in the faith may not have. So, confession must now take on a horizontal element—you should ask the person(s) you wounded or hurt for their forgiveness.

“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
The Biblical context is one of illness. The practical experience for you and me is one of a relationship that is wounded and unhealthy. Confession brings healing and restoration.

Did your mistakes hurt others? If so, seek forgiveness.

3. Pray Together

Praying together brings unity. It brings closeness. It unites the hearts of men and women in community. That’s why it’s critical for believers to pray together.
Yet it’s very difficult to come before the throne of God with another person with whom you are at odds. So, once confession and forgiveness have taken place—pray, pray, pray!

Mysteriously, God can, and often does, bring unity through your faithful humble pursuit of Him.

Let’s learn from the mistakes of the past year. Let’s not allow regrets to disrupt or destroy our community. Instead, let God work in and through each of us as we humble ourselves before God and our friends.

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