Forgiveness and unforgiveness are a part of life. There is no doubt at some point in your life you will be faced with a decision: to forgive or not to forgive. And as such; regret will be a factor in that decision. Regret can serve as an impediment to the level of forgiveness a person is able to receive and give. Regret of not spending more time with your family, putting your career first; not making the big play; or simply not giving your all can wreck havoc on your life. You can overcome regret to receive forgiveness in full.
How does regret play a part in your life in forgiveness? 3 simple ways:
1. Regret keeps you suffering from past mistakes. 2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us, ‘For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.’ People make mistakes. We all do. There was a time in my life where I knew I was forgiven; yet when certain things were brought up I felt an instant level of regret. I knew I was moving forward and didn’t understand how if I were forgiven I will still suffering. See; I didn’t at the time know that regret was like the virus scan program operating in the background of my life. Even though I was drawn to my savior Jesus I did not know regret was still an issue. Once I understood the impact of it- my life changed! It felt like I instantly lost 20lbs. I didn’t need to suffer any longer. And neither do you. Forgiveness took it all away. What a revelation!
2. Regret keeps you focused on yourself. Similar to shame; regret keeps you focused on what you could or should have done. Yes; sure you know someone forgave you yet you haven’t fully received it. Why? Because your regret keeps you continuously thinking and reliving what you could or should have done or not done to change the situation that has already taken place. Your focus of thought impacts every area of your life- and those thoughts first impact you. When regret is the main focus your life will not be free. Isa 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” When you are focused on the mistakes you have made you are not 1) focused on the things above, 2) moving forward, 3) living in the forgiveness bestowed to you. Your focus is disallowing you to be. Your focus on you is your biggest problem. When I was faced with the mistakes of my past I knew I was forgiven; yet I was more distant from the Lord and couldn’t figure out why. Regret. Simple as that. My regret kept me focusing on me instead of the Lord and the blessing He gave me in the gift of forgiveness. Is it the same for you?
3. Regret disallows forgiveness to flow. Regret is an obstacle; a hindrance to the flow of forgiveness. It is like the dam that blocks the river waters. Forgiveness is there; but it can’t fully operate because the level of regret is too high. It doesn’t allow you to see what you have been given, that the mistakes of the past are not to be lived and relived. The past is gone; but a thought of yesterday. If you harbor it- it will hinder you and ultimately will kill you. If someone forgave you; why then would you allow regret to enter in and steal it? That is like leaving your door open for someone to rob you all the while paying for a wonderful insurance plan. And who does that?
It took me many years to realize that regret was in my way. Sure I knew forgiveness and its impact; but not much about the hindrance of regret. If you are struggling with regret of your past; whether it’s for cheating, having an abortion, drunk driving, bullying another person; or whatever single thing you have done I encourage you right now to let it go. You cannot change what you have done. You can’t. What you can do is forgive yourself and move on. Your life is too precious and your future is worth more than the regret of the mistakes you made that you have already been forgiven for. Don’t let it eat up years of your life like I did. It simply is not worth it.