The Junk Drawer of Regret

Somewhere in most houses is a junk drawer.  That one place to store trinkets we can’t bring ourselves to throw away. That drawer may be filled with things like half used pencils, three-year-old calendars, miscellaneous screws, a few worn out tools, and small plastic doodads that we picked up at the fair. Most of us also have a mental junk drawer, one that is filled with regrets.

 We all have regrets, events or decisions that we are ashamed of but cannot get rid of. Those could’ve, should’ve and would’ve nag us, reminding us of our failures or unforeseen consequences. Regrets are easy to identify, they almost always start with “if only.”  If only I would’ve….  If only they could’ve….  If only we didn’t….  If we are honest with ourselves, there is a piece of sin attached to every one of our regrets.  It could be our sin or the sin of others.  The sin might be the action or in our reaction when everything fell apart. Many times regret is only pure old fashioned pride, which is itself a sin.

So how do we clean out the junk drawer?  The Apostle Paul wrote,  “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10, NASB95) We cannot change the past.  It is impossible to undo the consequences of our actions or the actions of others.  We can, however, be freed from the bondage to those events and decisions. We can be freed from the nagging reminders and guilt.  The price of freedom is honesty. We must be honest with ourselves and with God; recognizing our own sin, confessing it to God, turning from the act itself and the guilt that followed, and receiving God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Similarly, when regret is born out of someone else’s sin the price of freedom is forgiving them.

My encouragement to you is to make time to clean out the junk drawer of regrets. Not sure you have regrets? Then listen for the “if only…” statements of life. They will help you identify what is tucked away in your junk drawer.  God’s promise is clear, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NASB95) It is by God’s forgiveness of ourselves and our forgiveness of others that the bondage to our regrets is broken, and freedom in Christ is found. Blessings to you all – Dale.

Dale Heinold
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