What If? :: By John Lysaught

If you could go back in time and have a redo from some regret in your life, would you? I think we all have regrets and would. Maybe it was a relationship, a job change, or a fork in the road of life that you wish you could turn around and walk back to so you could take the other turn. The thing is, it doesn’t matter because there is nothing you do can change the past. You can only move forward. This is especially true of sinful regret.

The choices made in life make us who we are today, right now, even in sin. Regardless of the regrets from the past, they don’t have to control our life, because of Christ. Hard to do sometimes? Yes, definitely. I’m not saying it is easy at all. Healing can take time, of course, and regrets can be hard to let go of. Yet, they can, if only we can forgive ourselves.

I had a couple of big regrets in my life that took me a long time to get over. They were life-changing events that I would always wonder about. I would wonder if my life would have been harder or easier or if I would be in the same place that I am now. See, decisions take us down roads that we don’t know where they lead to; sometimes not so good. God uses our history in the present and future to affect our individual life and the lives of others for His good.

God’s grace and mercy used my regrets for His glory in one way or the other. I used to go around and around in my mind of the “what if’s.” The burden of such would weigh me down, and it took a long time to face them and let them go. In the end, though, when regrets are let go, there is contentment in life and Jesus, the most important thing to have. Because of Jesus, because of His mercy and grace, regrets are washed clean, and we no longer have to live under the shadow of guilt.

Philippians 3:13-14 tells us, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”

When man looks back on regrets, they are prisoners of the past. People can dwell and dwell on sinful regrets but the past will not change. What is needed is to look forward to heaven, to be heaven-bound with Christ as the lighthouse in the storm. There is no hope of the past, but there is hope of the future. A future where we are with our King, where any thoughts of regret are not even a whisper in our hearts.

Believers don’t have to remember the old things in life (Isaiah 43:18). The burden of regret does not need to weigh us down in the mire of sadness or despair. There is the hope of God and life in His love and kindness and grace. It’s when one holds tight to regrets that they get held down, choking on past mistakes. It is some sin or sins committed that weigh heavily in hearts and minds that keep believers from fully living in God. Remember what the Apostle Paul says in Hebrews 8:12,

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

This is a strong and true statement.  God will not remember our sins. There just needs to be a faith and hope in Christ to let those regrets fall away from us.

Satan uses our regrets to his advantage against us. He can hold us down if we let regret take over our lives. Satan is good at this and capitalizes on this. If he can smother believers with regrets, then he wins; but remember, God is always near. He is “nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). He is ever near, and will not forsake us in the moments of regret because He is always near us.

Don’t let Satan burden you with your regrets. Put them aside and look up to God. God will not forsake believers because of the regrets in life (Hebrews 13:5). He did not turn His love away but loved man so much that He “commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ died for His elect, for those He owns before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He didn’t die and sacrifice for those who were sinless, but He came to wash those who believe in him white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). There should be a sense of peace and worth in this.

The chains of regret can be broken. Sin can be blotted out, and with it, any and all regret tied to it.

There is forgiveness from God through Christ; and yet, we still beat ourselves up with regrets. We feel that there is shame in front of God, and we look down to the ground because of this. There is no need for this. Bask in the light of His love, not held in the shackles of regret from sin. Let the light of God give freedom from the regret held so tightly that it holds back a true love and embracement of God’s forgiving grace.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

When He cleanses believers, there is no stain of sin from past regrets. If He forgave us, can’t we forgive ourselves? Letting go of regret is key to moving forward in the path of sanctification. Regrets are obstacles in our sanctification, and only by letting regret go can we accept ourselves and move ahead on the path of righteousness.

Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

The bondage of regret doesn’t need to hold us down. It doesn’t need to envelop every thought or hold back a relationship with God. To let regret go gives peace in our hearts. It gives relief to know that God is merciful and His promise to forgive is a promise not to be broken. Christ’s sacrifice for sins past, present, and future provide an opportunity to bury regret and dwell on it no more. There is no need for mourning because, in Christ, there is the hope of a better future. Looking forward to tomorrow and not looking back provides an assurance that heaven is just around the corner. It gives us the opportunity to lay our burdens down to Him who is surely able and willing to forgive the sins of His followers.

To love Christ is to move forward and not look back on regret. Sin can burden, for sure, yet it does not need to monopolize the thoughts of believers. There is hope in the unseen in the faith of Christ (Hebrews 11:1). There is no hope in past regrets. Looking forward in Christ is the only way to navigate this world of trouble. Regret doesn’t have to burden us (Psalm 55:22).

Letting regret go is a monumental step forward in embracing the forgiveness of Christ and a step forward in our walk in the sanctifying love and glory of God.