In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were unjustly beaten and thrown into prison. In prison, they were put in stocks and guarded. At midnight, they started praying and singing hymns. Miraculously, an earthquake came and broke the prison to free them. When the guard woke up and found out, he pulled out his sword to kill himself – one of the reasons was probably because he was full of shame – but Paul and Silas had grace with their guard and told him not to. The guard ended up getting saved because of the grace he was shown – God’s grace. There are multiple miracles taking place in this section of scripture. The obvious one is that God sent an earthquake to free Paul and Silas but one of the more subtle miracles in this story is the grace that Paul and Silas showed to their guard. They were in prison, in pain, and yet they held nothing over the guard’s head.
The thing is, we can be both Paul and Silas AND the guard. When we’re trapped in a prison of our making, based on our own decisions, it’s easy to punish ourselves both when we’re trapped in the walls and when we’re out of them again – it takes the form of regret, shame, guilt, and fear of it happening again. Paul and Silas could have let the guard kill himself because of the torture they endured, and let his shame take over, but they showed him God’s grace. It’s time that you do the same for yourself. Take a minute to list a few of the mistakes you’ve made that you haven’t forgiven yourself for yet. Now, take a minute and forgive yourself for each of those items by name using God’s grace as your inspiration and strength. God never intended on us living a life of regret and shame. He delivered us from death so that we could truly LIVE. So I will sing a song of deliverance I will lift my hands and drop these chains Walk out free in Jesus’ name I will sing a song of deliverance Oh Hallelujah I am free.
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