Every person has made mistakes that can never be corrected. This is true because there are certain things that can be done only at one specific time. Once that time limit has passed there is no second chance.
For example, if we want to be part of our daughter’s first day of school we cannot do so after she begins the second grade. Or if we want to have influence on our son’s decision to buy his first home, we cannot do so after he has signed the papers and moved in.
When we look back and see all our mistakes, we want to change them. This may be out of a desire to reduce the pain we caused others or it may be an effort to reduce our own anguish.
Often, because of the time factor, we have only a limited opportunity to help those we have harmed. We owe them an apology, along with a sincere offer to make some sort of restitution. But their acceptance or rejection of that apology is out of our control.
Only they know how much forgiveness they are ready to give. They may not be at all interested in helping us reduce our guilt. They may have long ago gone past the failure that plagues us and therefore have no desire to revisit the incident in order to help us repair our emotional damage.
We must learn to live with the fact that we have made mistakes. We must learn to live with the pain those mistakes have created in our lives and the lives of others. Then we have to learn how to prevent that damage and pain from handicapping us and stealing today’s joy. The Holy Spirit will do this within us if we just invite him to do so. God does not want our present and future joy to be reduced because of our past. He has forgiven each of our sins. Now we need to forgive ourselves.