March 24th 2009

Releasing Your Regrets

“People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy.”
Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)

How often do you play the “if only” game?

· If only I had it to do over.
· If only I had listened sooner.
· If only I could erase the past.
· If only I could forgive myself.

Because no one is perfect, we all have regrets.
We’ve all made bad choices, said foolish things, wasted time, and hurt ourselves and others.
How do you release those regrets?

Here are some strategies that don’t work:

1. We bury them.  Burying the past doesn’t work. Like creatures from a horror movie, unresolved regrets come back to haunt us over and over.  Minimising (“It wasn’t a big deal”), rationalising (“Everyone does it”), and compromising (lowering your standards) are ways we try to bury our regrets.

2. We blame others.  This tactic is as old as Adam and Eve.  When Adam sinned, he took it like a man – he blamed his wife! We use blame to balance out our guilt.

3. We beat ourselves.  We try to pay for our guilt unconsciously through illness, depression, setting ourselves up for failure, and other forms of self-punishment.  The problem with beating up on yourself is this: your conscience never knows when to stop!  Many spend their entire lives in self-condemnation.

What does God want me to do with my regrets?

· Admit my guilt. Own up to it. Don’t make excuses.
The Bible says, “People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NLT).

· Accept Christ’s forgiveness. He’s waiting to clean your slate.
Ask him to clear your conscience, and then remember “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NLT).

· Forgive yourself and focus on the future. “Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19 HCSB).

Prayer
Merciful Father, help us to admit our faults, accept the blame and turn to you for forgiveness. Instead of self-punishment, let us accept your love and mercy, release our regrets and face the future fresh and forgiven.
Amen

Study by Fraser Murdoch

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