The story of the prodigal son is found in Luke 15. He asked his father to give him part of his inheritance, and few days later he journeyed to a far country, where he wasted his possessions with prodigal living. When he had spent all, there arouse a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Verse 16 NTL says, “The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.” I guess it was at that moment he asked himself the question, “How did I get here?”
2 Samuel 12, David commits adultery, and then tried different tricks to cover-up his sin. Finally, he ordered the execution of an innocent man, Uriah. The Lord sent Prophet Nathan to David, who told David a parable of a man who did something very evil. Verse 5 says after hearing the parable David burned with anger and said to Prophet Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die.” Then the Prophet said to David “ You are the man.” I guess the question that came to David’s mind was “How did I get here?”
David could not even recognize the person he had become. He had become someone he never thought he could be.
Matthew 27 tells us the story of a man called Judas Iscariot. This is a man who betrayed Jesus by identifying Him to Roman soldiers with a kiss in return for 30 pieces of silver. After the conviction of Jesus, Judas had a moment of sobriety. Verse 3 says “ seeing that He (Jesus) had been condemned, (Judas) was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priest saying “ I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But those who arrested Christ would not negotiate. Suddenly Judas found himself experiencing his “How did I get here?” moment. Judas threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went and hanged himself.
Judas was not the only one to betray Jesus on that night, one of Jesus’s closest friend would later reject Him. In Matthew 26 v 34, Jesus predicted Peter’s denial. “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Fast Forward to verse 74 “then he (Peter) began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus. Peter went out and wept bitterly. It was at that point I believed Peter asked himself, “How did I get here?”
The lost son, the king of Israel and two of Jesus’s disciples, have something in common.
They have made mistakes
Mistakes they could not correct
And they were regretting their mistakes
Mistakes, we all have made them. The reality is that we all have to live with the mistakes we’ve made since we do not have the power to undo them. Maybe you are looking at your life right now and thinking, “This is a mess,” and you are wondering how you got here. I have had that thought a few times. Okay, more than a few. How did I get here? This is the question we ask ourselves in the moment of sobriety. A moment when we think, “if only I had done things differently.”
So what do we do after we have erred? Where do we find hope and rest for our regrets?
I have come to realize that sometimes is not so much about the mistakes we have made, but what we do after we have made the mistakes that makes all the difference. People deal with regret and guilt differently. Judas attempted to fix his mistake by returning the thirty pieces of silver. While David went on a great cover-up mission that saw him committing more mistakes in the process.
At the end, Judas felt condemned and allowed his sorrow to drive him to despair rather than allowing his sorrow to drive him back to Jesus. Judas was filled with remorse. Remorse is an overwhelming regret that leaves you hopeless. While the other three guys repented. Repentance is sincere regret that turns you back to God.
2 Corinthians 7 v 10 says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”
Our mistakes are meant to guide us, not to define our character.
God is able to use the worst things that we have done to bring glory to His name, and to teach us more about His gracious and patient character.