Overcoming Regret

In the medical world, there are two major concerns. The first is preventative care which encourages ways to avoid sickness, disease, injury, or even death. Consider our three previous articles on overcoming our hunger, sight, and pride to be preventative care. The other type of medical care intends to reverse the damage and promote healing. There is an aspect of overcoming in Christ that also heals what we have broken through our wrong choices and sins.

We often approach guilt, shame, and regret as if they are bad things. Feelings no one should have or be haunted by. While each can be abused and used to control someone, which is wrong, they can also show us where our soul is wounded. Guilt, shame, and regret are to the soul like pains are to our body. Is our soul broken by the sharp pain of grief and loss?  Do we feel the dull ache of regret that we can never seem to shake? Are we feeling the bone on bone pain of anger? While the world seeks a kind of comfort medical care for these issues the Bible shows us the way of healing and wholeness.

Sin causes pain. That pain could be from our sin or from the sin of others. The Bible says that “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NASB95) Sin always leads to separation, loss, and death. But the good news is that there is an answer. There is healing, forgiveness, and freedom in Christ.

John wrote, “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)  And Isaiah prophesied, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, NASB95) What seems to be impossible to undo, to heal again, is possible through Jesus.

Our sin stain and torn heart can be healed, whole, and renewed because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NASB95)

We may live according to this good news as much as possible and still feel the pangs of guilt, shame, and regret. Our minds may know these verses, we can reason out that we are forgiven in Christ, but our heart may still hurt.

Sometimes that guilt and shame is from others. It could be ole’ Satan trying to keep us from being a light to the world. Or it could be the voices of others that haven’t yet forgiven us for something in our past. For those, we must lean on God’s word and let His voice be louder still.

What I’ve learned to do in those cases is confess the sin, repent, and ask forgiveness again, even if I’ve done it many times before. It’s not from lack of faith, I know Jesus forgave me the first time, but doing so again reminds me that I am forgiven. Besides, it drives Satan crazy.

Sometimes though we have very deep regrets about our past actions. Especially those times when our sinful choices wounded, injured, or perhaps even killed someone else. God forgives those as well, but our soul may not feel it. One avenue of healing for this kind of regret is grief.

While grief is painful, it is also healing. Growing up, my mom put these orange colored drops on our cuts and skinned knees. Those drops often stung worse than the cut. Grief is like those orange colored drops, it stings but it also heals. Sometimes we need to embrace the loss and grieve over it. There are times when we confess with our lips, other times we confess with our head, but grief and sorrow are confessing with our heart.

This process will not undo the consequences of our sins. And like a cut, there may be a scar on our heart. But scars are a part of the healing process as well. Scars remind us about our past failures but also our forgiveness and healing. Through Christ’s healing those old wounds no longer control us or define us, we are washed clean in Christ. “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow.”

Dale Heinold
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