The Pains We Face: Regret

by Carolyn Hope

“And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:59-62)

For many years, the story of Peter’s denial has been a picture of regret to me. When I read other Scriptures, however, I notice that the term “regret” is typically used in a negative sense; that is to say, regret is something Christians should not be feeling. Paul makes a distinction between godly sorrow and regret in 2 Corinthians 7:10, when he says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” There are differences between regret and godly sorrow. Regret doesn’t offer hope; godly sorrow does. Regret does not lead to repentance; godly sorrow does. Regret says, “You’re stuck,” while godly sorrow says, “You’re better. You can move forward.”

When you wallow in regret, you are completely self-focused. “I shouldn’t have done that.” “I should have been better, kinder, more patient, etc.” You’re relying on yourself to be perfect. Jesus came so you could live free from regret. When you slip and fall, you’re supposed to get back up again. The way you rise from a fall is by letting Jesus pull you up. His strength is greater than your weakness. His love is deeper than your selfishness. His mercy is stronger than your failures.

All of my life, I have looked at this scene in Scripture incorrectly. I’ve pictured Jesus staring at Peter with a piercing gaze, full of sadness and disappointment. The message I’ve believed Jesus conveyed was, “Peter, how could you?” Now I see the truth: Jesus didn’t look at Peter to remind him that he messed up. He looked at Peter because He loved him. There was no anger in Jesus’ eyes. There was no disappointment. Instead, there were kindness, mercy, and love, calling Peter to come back to Him.

You don’t have to be afraid of peering into Jesus’ eyes. He loves you. You are free, flawless, and enough in His view. Your failures don’t have to separate you from Him. Even the greatest of wrongs can be made right in Jesus’ love. He longs for you to be close. Don’t get stuck in the mire of regret. Let go, move forward, and draw near to the One who has eyes full of love for you.

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The Voice Staff

Author: The Voice Staff

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