After a bitter divorce, my friend, Pam, whispered, “If only I had understood how to make a relationship work. Maybe my family would still be together.”
Guilt gripped Nancy when she thought of her grandmother. “If only I hadn’t neglected her when she was old and lonely,” she confided.
Most of us have regrets because none of us is perfect, but how have they affected us? And what do we do now if we still feel guilty and ashamed?
Regrets Have Power
Filled with regrets over some poor choices she had made, Cora constantly called herself names, felt she was a failure, and was convinced that the world would be better off without her. Her guilt led to severe depression and even attempted suicide before she received the help she needed.
Left unresolved, regrets produce powerfully negative emotions. They cause you to:
- Sentence yourself to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and self-hatred.
- Feel ashamed and unworthy of being loved by others or by God.
- Fear being exposed, believing others would reject you if they knew what you had done.
God Can Set You Free
The apostle Paul had many reasons to be shackled with regrets: he attacked and imprisoned Christians and even approved of killing them. Yet Paul did what you and I need to do with our regrets: forget what is behind, look forward, and press on (Philippians 3:12-14).
He didn’t waste his time or his emotional and spiritual energies by looking back and dwelling on his past. God calls us to do the same.
If regrets haunt you, think about these statements God makes:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
If this is true, how does it apply to the regrets that trouble you?
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow… (Isaiah 1:18)
No matter how great your sin, God says He will remove it. That stabbing pain in your soul can be gone forever.
Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience… (Hebrews 10:19-22)
Rather than fixating on your failures, why not take God at His word? Draw near and let Him wipe away your sorrow and guilt.
Reject Satan’s Trap
Regrets are powerful and Satan tries to use them to keep us emotionally and spiritually miserable. Refuse to let Satan have a victory in your life. Confess your failures and then forget them. Celebrate your freedom in Christ, and move forward with a cleansed conscience.
This excerpt is from Poppy’s book, I’m Too Young to Be This Old.
Let’s Talk: How do you refuse to let Satan have a victory in your life? (If you are an email subscriber and want to comment on the actual post, click here to visit the blog and leave a comment.)
International speaker, multi-published author, Bible teacher, and spiritual coach
Inspiring Women to Thrive!
Permission to use this article is granted provided the following credit is fully included.
Poppy Smith is funny, warm, and passionate about helping women grow spiritually and personally so they experience the love and power of Christ in life’s ups and downs. A former teaching leader with Bible Study Fellowship, Poppy has a Masters in Spiritual Formation and ministers extensively as a retreat and conference speaker both in the US and around the world. For more information about Poppy’s heart, her books and ministry, please visit her website at www.poppysmith.com.