What You Need to Know About Regret
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“I have a ton of regrets. I’m just not sure what to do about them.”
I was unsettled after my conversation with my friend. We ALL have regrets, right? Ever since we talked my radar regarding the topic was on high alert.
Cue Psalm 51. David wrote this Psalm after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his sinful relationship with Bathsheba and his decision to murder her husband. (Talk about regret.)
As I read through the Psalm, I couldn’t help but think how quickly regret steers us to focus on the past. Could have’s and should have’s cling to regret like watermarks on a pair of eyeglasses.
When regret shifts our focus to the past it usually invites a partner called shame. Satan loves it when we hang out with these two yahoos. They link elbows and try to keep us in a dark corner. Which begs the question,
How do we get rid of shame?
The answer is that we run for the light!
Shame shrinks from light. It can’t live in it. The more light you shine on it the sooner it skittles away. A friend, counselor, or pastor can all be helpful allies when it comes to opening up and giving shame the boot.
King David knew that. The very first line of Psalm 51 says,
“Look on me…”
Bringing a regretful decision out in the open is the first place to start when we want to move on.
But there’s another important step we need to take in order for regret to bring about the good it’s meant to.
We sacrifice our regret
Does that sound strange? According to Psalm 51, it’s an important piece of the puzzle.
Sacrifice in the Old Testament was a crucial component to the restoration of the relationship between God and His people. When the kind of regret we’re talking about is a sin, God’s top priority is the restoration of our relationship with Him.
Just like David, we need to come to God, bring our regret out in the open and then lay it on the altar. God promises that such a “sacrifice” will be accepted.
The psalm closes with a hope that points toward living with “right motives” that delight God.
Regret happens. But there’s a proper place for it.
Regret isn’t meant to be buried and carried for the rest of our lives.
It can be a pleasing sacrifice. And as the Psalm describes, the God that———
Is the God that will accept our sacrifice of true regret and help us move forward to a life that is—
Full of life.
Savoring the journey with you,
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