The Regret Game

Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness; rivers in the desert.                                                           Isaiah 43:18-19 (NAS)

What is your favorite game?  Here are my four favorites; Monopoly, spades, football and baseball.  I’m 54 years old now, guess which two I can still play and not get hurt too badly?  You guessed right!  I love to play baseball and football but if I do, I stand a pretty good chance of coming home with some serious aches and pains. 

If you are like me, there is another game we play that can also give us some serious aches and pains; it’s called “The Regret Game.”  This is not a game at which you want to become a master; if you do, it will eventually become your master!

How often do you play and what are your favorite Regret Game cards?  Here’s a few…..Why did I say that?…..If only I had married,                    …..If I had not taken that first drink…..If only I had listened to               …..and my personal favorite, “If only I had kept that 1965 Mustang!”

The thing to remember is that no one is perfect.  We all have regrets; we’ve all made bad choices, said foolish things and hurt ourselves and others.

A few years ago, Pastor Rick Warren wrote about getting over the regrets in our lives.  The following points are his but I’ve added my own thoughts.

How do you release your regrets?  Here are several strategies we tend to use that simply do not work:

You try to bury your past. It’s a common tactic, but burying the past will never help you get past your regrets. We minimize, compromise and rationalize but you will not get past the regrets by just acting like you haven’t made any mistakes!  What’s done is done and no amount of forgetting about or burying your past will change things. We have to face our past then not make the same mistake again.  This is the core of the gospel; confession, repentance, and restoration.  You do not have to regret your mistakes!  Through confession and repentance, embrace your past mistakes and be restored to a right relationship with our Heavenly Father!

We blame others.  Here is a favorite of many…..blame someone else!  I can’t tell you how many students have been in front of me for a discipline conference and when asked what happened, they immediately come down with a major case of the “It’s Not My Fault Syndrome!”  Most adults are no different!  Our world is full of men and women who blame someone else.  You’ve heard it too…”My wife didn’t love me like she should”…..”I didn’t have a daddy to show me the way”….”My momma didn’t love me like she should have!”  Every one of us has something in our past that will facilitate current and future decision-making;  but at the same time, we DECIDE to make wrong decisions.  Blaming others will not make the regrets go away!   

We beat up on ourselves.  Depression, doubt, self-hate are all a result of spending our time beating up on ourselves for wrong decisions and actions.  In an ill-conceived effort to relieve the pain, we keep giving ourselves a good beating for making stupid decisions.  Here is the problem with beating up on ourselves; we don’t know when to stop!  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1 (NAS)

What does God want you to do with your regrets?

Admit your guilt.  Own up to your mistakes and quit making excuses. “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful.  But if he confesses them, he gets another chance.”  Proverbs 28:13 (LB).

Accept Christ’s forgiveness.  Do you really want to be free of all the regrets?  Then accept His forgiveness and live in the light of His righteousness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NAS)

Forgive yourself and focus on the future.  Regarding our past deeds, I have this philosophy, “It is what it is, just deal with it!”  If God has forgiven us, who are we to continue to live with condemnation and self-doubt?    “Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness; rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 (NAS)

Friends, let’s live in the light of Christ’s love and forgiveness and free ourselves of this demon we call regret!

Be encouraged my friends,

Randy

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