“I wish I had never done that!” “If only I had a redo!” “Every time I think about what I did, my stomach churns!” These are common statements from people who live with regret. All of us, including me, have done things in our lives that we wish we could go back and change. Letting regret control you or depress you is a trick of the enemy. It’s like driving your car in reverse every day!
How does God’s grace take care of our regrets? Jesus has already paid for our past, present and future sins according to Colossians 2:13. That means our Father has forgiven us for ALL our sins. We need then to also forgive ourselves for past sins we’ve committed and past mistakes we have made. You may protest, “You don’t know what I have done!” You are right, I don’t but our sovereign God knew what you were going to do and Jesus died for that. We certainly don’t want to make our standard for forgiveness higher than God’s!
We need to realize because of our death, burial and resurrection with Christ, our past failures do not define us. God’s grace defines us as a gift through our faith in Christ. We may fail but we are not failures. Instead, we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us! Romans 8:37.
To beat ourselves up because of our failures and those of others we are connected to, is to agree with our enemy. In essence, when we focus on past negative events or failures, we are saying “what I do or don’t do defines me”. In God’s family, what defines us is who our Father is, instead of our enemy, the world, our behavior or our feelings!
If there is someone we need to go ask forgiveness from because of what we have done, that is something to pray about regarding the timing of it and what to say. One time, I regretted arguing with my neighbor about dust from my kids’ bikes landing on his newly pressure washed house. I prayed God would give me the right opportunity to ask for his forgiveness. One morning, when I was walking, there was my neighbor walking his dog on the same sidewalk. It was the perfect situation to ask for his forgiveness so I did. I knew I was not responsible for his response either way, but I did not want to be a barrier to him coming to know Christ since he was not a Christian.
Also, here are some prayers you can pray often to take away the burden to heal any leftover effects of past regrets. I pray these every week, not so much because of regret, but because I need to be reminded of God’s grace. Many others such as pastors, Christian leaders, husbands, wives and more have also been transformed by talking with God in these ways.
Because you have forgiven me, I forgive myself for ______________
Because you say you love me, I love me.
Because you say I am loveable, I say I am loveable
Because you say you accept me, I accept me.
Because you say I am acceptable, I say I am acceptable.
Because you say I have great worth, I say I have great worth.
Because you say I am secure, I say I am secure.
You can take any of the identity in Christ statements and pray them in a similar way in your times of talking with God all throughout the day.
We can drown today in the sea of regret or sail on the endless ocean of God’s love.