Years ago, I was at a conference in a huge church. During a break I was looking at books in their bookstore. I picked up one and was stopped in my tracks. The title was something like this: Living Your Full Potential: how to die without regrets. It so stunned me I burst into tears. Why? I lived in regrets. I didn’t begin my heart-healing journey until 1983. I’m still in this journey, because it is part of my progressive sanctification to be more like Jesus.
What are regrets? Here are two truths to keep in mind. 1. They are in your past. 2. You can’t change your past. However, you can change your attitude towards the root of the regret. Regret has to do with shame and disgrace. Jesus bore the shame and disgrace of all our sins. Here is a question to ask: do I regret the consequences, or the reproach my action or inaction brought on the Lord?
We repurpose our regret by changing the way we view it, and how it affects us. The past is passed. There is no ‘redo’ button. There is no pass or fail in God’s economy. Use your regret as a reminder of God’s resurrection power that is within you. Walk forward in His grace through confession of your hidden sin. We are fully known in God’s sight. All pretense is stripped away. David knew this truth. He wrote Psalm 69. Verse 19 says, “You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; my adversaries are all before You.”
As I read this last night, my mind inserted ‘adversaries’ as David’s reproach, shame, and dishonor. Verse 20 says, “Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Remaining in regret is a means of self-protection. We put up emotional walls. We run behind them as our default comfort zone.
Regret is also self-punishment. Emotionally castigating yourself, over and over until you are grooved in it, is another trap of the enemy. Castigate means to reprimand someone severely. Have you ever called yourself derogatory names? The enemy of our soul wants to keep us in oppressive bondage. God’s eternal truth says that we are free. However, it is up to us to maintain heart freedom, and not allow the enemy to bind us with his controlling lies!
Regret plays back into reluctance. Holding onto regret enforces the feelings of unworthiness. Therefore we hesitate when the Lord calls us out of our comfort zone. Doubt and fear swoop in to deter us. When Isaiah realized that his iniquity was taken away and his sin purged, there was no hesitation. He joyfully seized the opportunity the Lord had set before him.
Could it be that Moses lived in regret of killing the Egyptian and hiding him? Just a thought. 2 Corinthians 4:2 says, “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Renounce means to disown. If you are still carrying the emotional burden of regret, confess it, renounce it, and release it to the Lord. Walk away and remember that regret is satan’s weapon to hold us back from God’s purposes for our lives.