Written by Allan Mitchell for The Life
Throughout my life, often because of action or inaction, decision, or indecision — both trivial and crucial, I have experienced regret.
Regret is a common human emotion or feeling with variable intensity. Nobody is exempt from experiencing regret at some point in life. However, when we allow regret to illegitimately consume us, it births and breeds unwarranted shame and guilt and inescapably paralyzes our faith walk. Inevitably, we waste our sorrow on past outcomes — we often cannot change.
Scripture conveys many instances of human regret. Paul reflected on his former self, Saul, and how he zealously prosecuted, ravaged, and condemned many Jesus followers. Although we cannot know Paul’s inner thoughts, we can imagine the turmoil of personal regret. In Philippians, Paul implored his readers to keep a healthy perspective. Paul, undeterred by his own sordid past and maybe not allowing regret to consume him, resolved to persevere through by focusing on God’s call, glory, and prize.
Regretting sin is healthy, but, as Christ-followers, we cannot allow life regret to paralyze our faith walk. We need to allow our regrets to be our tutor, so we learn from life’s mistakes. Then we can confess our sins and be reconciled. Like Paul, we can embrace regret as an opportunity to reassess our perspective.
Do you dwell on your past regrets? Don’t waste your sorrows dwelling on the past – especially past outcomes you often have no power to change.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your unending grace. Protect me from my own understanding and limited perspective. Help me to tell the difference between sin and common life mistakes. Help me not dwell in the past by living life through a rear-view mirror, but helping me to focus on life’s road ahead by seeing and living life from a kingdom perspective, embracing your call and pressing on. Amen.
Go Deeper — If you have unresolved regrets, carve out some time today to spend some serious time with God, asking him to forgive your sins, and then showing you how to move on. One of our free, online mentors can help you with this issue. Feel free to fill in the form and have one contact you confidentially.