A Prayer for People Who’ve Messed Up
By Lynette Kittle
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” - Romans 3:23
Have you ever really messed up in your life? Not something unimportant or easy to correct, but in a way, it can’t be easily made right or fixed at all, something that can't be erased, redone, or even forgotten? If so, it's a horrible and devastating feeling for most individuals. It’s especially difficult for tenderhearted people who bear the weight of it and are unable to carry the guilt. Coping with mess-up fallout may cause some to feel like they can’t go on living, unable to cope with daily life, with nothing making sense or mattering anymore. For those who don’t understand, this strong reaction may seem too dramatic and over-the-top, but to those who have experienced devastating failure and sorrow, it may be greatly understated.
How Do We Respond?
Sadly, rather than offer comfort and compassion, some Christians often dole out plenty of scolding and condemnation to those who mess up, something usually too heavy for a cast-down soul to handle along with their own tormenting emotions. For those who haven’t experienced messing up big time in their own lives, it may be hard to relate to others who are going through it. But count it a blessing; there is no firsthand accounts to relive, and while counting, also ask God to give you a compassionate heart towards those who are living through it.
Rather than looking down on others who fail, we want to remember that every human has the shared experience of being born a sinner because all of us have sinned and fallen short when it comes to God’s glory (Romans 3:23).
Hope for the Hurting
Gratefully for those who know God, there is forgiveness because “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).
We also don’t have to stay and live in our mess-ups. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13). Paul understood God doesn’t want us to linger in regret or live in past failures but to trust Him and move forward with Christ Jesus.
People need to know that messing up big time in life doesn’t have to ruin their lives. True, it may take them in new and unexpected directions, but God has a way of leading people into more fulfilling, satisfying lives when they trust Him for their future.
We confess that we have messed up in life and aren’t able to correct or change the consequences of our actions. We ask You to forgive us and to help us today to move forward with You. Cleanse us, Lord, and free us from pain, sorrow, and regret. Help us Lord to not dwell on our past failings but to look forward towards our future with You.
Thank you for being close to us in our brokenness (Psalm 34:18). Mend our shattered hearts, Father. We praise you for giving us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and the garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3). Lead us from this point on in our lives, and let our hearts be willing to follow You and submit to Your ways and directives in life.
Help us to be sincerely grateful to You for Your forgiveness, love, compassion, mercy, kindness, and so much more that You graciously pour out on us during our deepest, darkest hours. Thank you that even if friends and family reject and turn away from us, You promise never to leave us, turn away from us, or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
In Jesus’ name, Amen
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Santiaga
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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