Our current message series, “Starting Over,” has been so encouraging! We are learning that God can redeem our regrets and allow us to move forward into victory.
There are three major kinds of regret that can keep us stuck in yesterday: action, inaction, and reaction. Regret of action is when we smack our forehead and say, “I can’t believe I said that! I can’t believe I did that! I know better!” Regret of inaction is the regret we feel for our indecisiveness or procrastination. Perhaps it’s turning down a job, saying “no” to a friend in need, or failing to have a necessary conversation with a family member who needs some tough love. Regret of reaction is mourning a trauma done to us or the death of someone we love.
We have many choices when it comes to our regret. We can dwell on it, live in denial, distract ourselves, try to sweep it under the rug, or recognize the regret.
The first four do nothing to help our healing. Recognizing our regret puts us at the starting line with Jesus for a new way forward.
Once we recognize our regret, the next step is to extend or receive forgiveness. That’s easier said than done! Pastor Wes outlined some key components last Sunday.
* Question: Do you regret sin against God? Answer: Ask Him for forgiveness.
* Question: Do you regret hurting someone else? Answer: Ask forgiveness from that person.
* Question: Do you regret a mistake? Answer: Forgive yourself.
* Question: Do you regret being hurt by someone else? Answer: Extend forgiveness.
Romans 12: 17-19 gives us good advice as we navigate the waters of recognizing regret and extending/accepting forgiveness. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
We can’t control another person’s response to our extension of forgiveness. They may accept it or throw it back in our face. They may act weird around us. They may graciously thank us for our humility, only to bring up our misdeeds every time they see us. Maybe they give us a hug and move forward in friendship and faith.
Regardless, it’s not up to them. It’s up to you to live at peace with your recognition of regret and your role in reconciliation. Live at peace with everyone, and let God sort out the rest.
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