The dark reality of the Christmas season is that it is fraught with opportunities for us to stumble and fall in our Christian walk. The one that probably looms largest over December is the Office Christmas Party.
The heady mix of alcohol, impending time off work, a desire to impress and pressure to join in can all lead to an unplanned moment of recklessness. We watch, as if in slow motion, while we do something that, in the cold light of an RML study, seems unimaginable.
What can a Christian do when they’ve done something they regret?
Know that grief leads somewhere
One drink too many. Harsh words, swear words, brash words. You slept with someone. You flirted. You gossiped. Whatever it was, you regret it.
Afterwards we replay it in our mind, like voyeurs glutton for punishment, before we try to banish it from our thoughts, desperate to explain it away. Our behaviour grieves us. So what do we do with that grief?
Paul tells the Corinthian Christians that grief can head in one of two directions.
‘For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.’
Which way will you go? Allow your grief over your sin to push you towards repentance and salvation. Don’t succumb to worldly grief that ignores Christ and only ends in death.
Confess to the Lord
The weight of our sin can be crushing; David, in Psalm 32, talks about his bones wasting away and his strength being dried up because of his sin. But he also knows the blessing that comes from acknowledging his sin. Our God is a forgiving God. He already knows what we’ve done; it’s not a surprise to Him. In fact it’s why he sent his Son to earth. So why stay silent before Him?
Rest in your guiltless saviour
Jesus knew no sin; he was perfect and righteous in every way. And yet, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, God made Jesus to be sin, ‘so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’
Do you feel guilty? Jesus had no guilt, a fact overlooked by those who condemned him to death and asked for him to be executed (Acts 13:28). His death takes away our guilt and makes us righteous, which is why Paul can say that repentance leads to salvation without regret.
Peace and joy at Christmas mean so much more when we turn to Christ, the one who takes away the burden of sin. So rest all your weight on your guiltless Saviour, who died to bring you forgiveness and freedom.