What to Do About Regret

February 7, 2024

We’ve all sinned and we’ve all fallen short of God’s glorious standard. But, even though we mess up, the truth is that God doesn’t intend for us to live under a load of guilt. Yet, many of us do.


So, what do we do with our regrets? How do we move forward and get back up again every time we fall?




Psalm 51:3 (NIV) For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Psalm 32:5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

This is the most painful step in getting rid of our regrets. We don't like to accept responsibility: "I was wrong."


When we admit it to God, we're not going to shock Him. He's not surprised or shocked. He knows it's happened. He just wants us to admit it. Admit our guilt to God.


We have two options when we have a regret. Confession or condemnation. We can confess it to God and get it off our chest, get it out of our life, or we can go around in condemnation. One of the problems we have in confessing is we often try to bargain with God when we've done something wrong. That doesn't work. "God, if you'll just forgive me, I'll never do it again!" As if God is going to be moved by our bargaining. We don't have to bargain with God. God says just admit it. Confess it.



So many people do Step One and never get to Step Two. Accepting God's forgiveness. I see people all the time who are continually confessing their sins and still don't feel forgiven. They don't go to Step Two -- accepting God's forgiveness and letting God forgive them.

Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Would you like to live with no condemnation, guilt-free, without regrets? "There is no condemnation for those who live in Christ Jesus." When you commit yourself to Christ and say, "God, take all my life -- the good, the bad, the ugly.  Take it all." then God wipes the slate clean. 


Remember etch-a-sketch?  When you made a mistake you flipped it over, shook it up, turned it back and it's clean! This is the etch-a-sketch verse of the Bible. God wipes it out. Start over. Clean slate. No condemnation. 


One of the most important words in the book of Romans is the word "justified." The Bible says that Jesus Christ died for us so that we could be justified. It's a theological term that simply means "just-as-if-I'd never sinned." God starts all over. He cleans the slate. It would be worth it, even if there weren't a heaven, to become a Christian, just to have a clear conscience. Just to go around without that load of guilt. To be free and enjoy life that way. 

How does God forgive? The Bible says that God forgives instantly. There's no delay, no wait, no drawing it out or hesitation on His part. It's the moment we ask. It's the exact opposite of the way we like to forgive. When we forgive we like people to suffer a while. That's not the way God forgives. God forgives instantly. When we say, "God, I admit it. I blew it. Would You forgive me?" He says, "Of course!" God is more ready to forgive us than we are ready to ask forgiveness. He's much more eager to do that. He forgives us instantly.

God forgives us completely. We like to hold on to a little bit of the guilt so we can have leverage against the person. We don't want to completely forgive them. 


Psalm 103:12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

East and west never end. East and west never meet. You can travel east forever and never end up going west. North and south converge at the poles. As far as the east is from the west. God says we're never going to see those sins again. He puts them out of reach.

John 3:17 (NIV) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 


Why is it when we have regrets, when we feel guilty, we run away from God rather than running to Him? He has the solution. Jesus said He did not come to condemn the world. He said, “I came to save it.” God is not interested in condemning you; He's interested in changing you, making you a new person. That's what He wants to do in your life. Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross so you could stop nailing yourself to a cross.  Jesus Christ was crucified so you could stop crucifying yourself. He was hung up for our hangups.


This, for many people, is the hardest step of all - to forgive themselves and focus on the future. 


Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!


Don't keep focusing on all that stuff that happened in the past. Forget it and let go of it. Focus on the future. Look ahead. Don't cling to the events of the past or dwell on what's happened. Watch for the new thing. It's never too late to start over.  ailure is never final unless you let it be. The Bible says, "Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." Even righteous people fall, fail, stumble. We get up, move ahead and get going again. 


I talk to so many people who say, "I blew it!  I really made a mistake, and I'm going to have to live with it the rest of my life." They have doomed themselves. They've imposed a self-imposed sentence that they must be unhappy the rest of their life because they made a mistake. The truth is, God loves to give people a second chance. It's His nature.  It's His grace. 


God is saying, “It's not so much where you've been that counts, but it's the direction of your feet -- where they're headed now, that's what counts.”  Forgive yourself and focus on the future. Get back up again. 


And, instead of focusing on "the next time you fall" and beating yourself up about it, why don't you focus on following Jesus and WHEN you fall (like we all do) choose now that you will get back up again. 

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