I well remember being towed by a motorboat for the first time when I was a teen. I waited in the water with both skis pointed skyward until the boat took off raising me slowly to my feet. I managed to get my wobbly legs under me and was amazed that I was actually skiing! As I traveled behind the boat clinging to the tow rope, I began to get a little more comfortable. My legs weren’t wobbling nearly as much, and I began to feel like I was really getting the hang of it.
And then it happened. I don’t remember exactly how, but I do recall going down front first into the water. Most people would release the rope and try again. I’m not “most people.” I plowed water with my face for what seemed like a long time, clinging stubbornly to the tow rope. I thought that somehow I could still get up if I would just hang on.
Thankfully, the one driving the boat saw my plight and slowed down. Everyone was laughing and I began to understand that sometimes the only thing you can do to get back up is to let go and start over.
Life can be a lot like that first skiing experience. We frequently cling to the one thing that is no longer pulling us in a good direction. But many of us stay connected to it hoping that it will somehow help us. I’m speaking of guilt.
At first this guilt was a good thing. It showed us our need to come to God and to place it in the hands of the One who made us. And that’s where it should have stayed. But as we continue to hang onto guilt it eats at us, and instead of rising above the situation, we continue to let ourselves get dragged through the same scenario, which only prevents us from getting past it. When we continue to feel guilty about something in the past, we are taken on a never-ending ride, face first through the waters of despair.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins…” (1 John 1:9 ).
In step-by-step language, this verse might appear like this:
1. I did it. I’m guilty, and there’s no getting around it.
2. I’m sorry for it, and I’d change it if I could…but I can’t.
3. I’ve brought it to God, and I know that it’s forgiven because that has been promised to me.
When we’ve done what the verse says, we can have the assurance that it’s been dealt with. It’s over, and it’s time to move on in our lives. God never meant for you and I to hang on to the guilt. It’s counterproductive to our spirituality and it won’t get us anywhere. For some of us, it’s time to let go of the rope!