Is regret messing with your peace? Is it so painful that you’d like to erase a part of your past? Let’s look at regret — what it is, the two main types, and how to move toward restoration.
Regret is feeling sorrow or remorse for something you did or failed to do. Sometimes it turns into disappointment. This feeling of regret can be turned toward God as you seek him in your pain. Or it can become discontentment, even despair.
Discontentment is an ugly response to regret. It describes a person’s dissatisfaction with what God is doing in his life at the moment. She may have self-pity and see herself as the undeserving victim of unfair circumstances.
Regret Due to Human Error
Regret may result from an honest though awful mistake. Dr. Erwin Lutzer shared the story of a missionary airplane mechanic with an excellent service track record. One day while tightening a bolt, he was called away before he finished. He forgot to return and complete the bolt tightening.
The consequence of this one mistake proved disastrous. The plane took off. Gasoline leaked from the place where the bolt was loose. The plane caught on fire and all seven people on the plane died. Without a doubt, this mechanic wished he could erase the past. He feels deep regret.
Regret Caused on Purpose
This type of regret results when you choose a certain path that you know is wrong. The Holy Spirit impresses on your heart the your ugly choice rubs against God’s will but you continue on.
Think Peter the apostle.
He denied knowing Jesus Christ three times, then the rooster crows. Peter weeps tears of regret and emotional pain.
And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. Mark 14:72, ESV
2 Steps to Restoration
1. Bring it into the open.
Pushing down the past smothers you. Did you know that the more you try not to think about the regret, the more focus you direct toward it?
God’s plan for moving forward requires facing the past and acknowledging the sin, the pain, and the fallout.
2. Move forward.
To move forward means forgiving, repeatedly if necessary, letting God deal with those who have sinned against you, and continuing to respond in a godly way regardless of how they behaved.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19, ESV
When you choose God’s solutions, an upward and forward movement begins! It’s time, don’t you think, for a fresh start? Christ and His Word will move you in the right direction if you let Him!
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV
Do you need help finding peace? I’d love to help you!
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