Regrets are a part of life. We all have suffered them at one time or another. The word literally means to remember with distress, sorrow, remorse or pain for an act, fault or disappointment. Probably the most painful aspect of regrets is that their source is self inflicted. For this reason they can also be the hardest offense to forgive because we can be our most critical and unforgiving judge.
Regrets are akin to grief. Grief can be like an inextinguishable fire that consumes all that’s in its path. After a tragedy or loss God permitted the children of Israel to grieve, but not to live in grief. (Deuteronomy 34:8) Likewise regret can be an excellent educator, but you cannot live in it.
Regrets can produce guilt. If left unchecked, regrets can produce shame and guilt which can keep you focused on the past, handicap your present, and imprison your future. It can diminish your potential and stifle your capacity to believe in yourself.
I recently talked to a man who because of his behavior he lost a 15 year military career, his wife and children left him, and he faces financial devastation. The regrets he embraces daily consumes him to the point of emotional & social dysfunction.
The true source of regret is unforgiveness. The above passage of scripture tells us that God does not impute, or hold an account of our sins. He forgives them then cleanse and separates us from them (Psalm 103:12; 1 John 1:9) If God forgives us we must follow His lead and forgive ourselves.
One derivative of the Hebrew word for forgive is the same word used for exhale. To exhale requires 2 steps: first there must be a release then there must be a push in order to expel the bad air. We release the offense or offender, and then we push away the pain created by it.
In the case of regret, we must release ourselves from the condemnation and guilt. There is nothing that you did that the blood of Jesus has not already paid the price for. Condemnation is not your final verdict, forgiveness is. After you release yourself from your guilty verdict, you must push away the pain of the memory by gaining a new perspective.
When Joseph reconciled with his brothers after they sold him into slavery he had a different perspective. “What you meant if for bad, but God meant if for good.” (Genesis. 50:21 ) Dispel the pain of regret by focusing on the Godly perspective.
Make a decision today to never live in regret. Let you past be your school and not your tomb. Refuse to be tormented by your past errors and by faith appropriate the grace of God for you to forgive yourself.
I’m Andrew Freed and you are an Overcomer in Christ.