The first two posts can be found HERE and HERE. We’ve already suggested that a regret is the emotional and or spiritual difficulty as the result of mistakes in life also known as sin. We’ve further stated that those without regret have a seared conscious to some degree AND that the Christian should understand regret as conviction of the Holy Spirit to address sin in life. These thoughts are further expanded in PART 1 and PART 2. Now to conclude with some thoughts on minimizing regrets as best we can…
When we are convicted by the Holy Spirit… AKA have a regret… the Biblical response is repentance. Repentance for something done in the past is not just feeling sorry for having done it, but an active addressing of the event as evident by the Spirit working in us. Consider what is written by Paul about “Godly grief” in 2 Cor 7:9-12…
For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
Consider the following explanation of 2 Cor 7:9-12…
Godly sorrow brings about repentance (Vs 10a).
Godly sorrow does not result in regret (Vs 10b).
Godly sorrow produces earnestness (Vs 11a). A sincere heart… honest actions… no deception.
Godly sorrow produces “eagerness…” (Vs 11b). A strong desire to clear up whatever is wrong.
Godly sorrow produces “indignation…” (Vs 11c). Anger toward the sin committed.
Godly sorrow produces “alarm” (Vs 11d). Recognition of danger because of the presence of sin.
Godly sorrow produces “concern” (Vs 11e). For the other person or people effected by sin.
Godly sorrow produces “readiness” (Vs 11f). The person is willing to accept whatever the consequences are of their sin AND do whatever it takes to make things right… regardless of what it is. A good illustration of this is found in Luke 19:8-10.
The way to know if repentance is genuine or false is the fruit it produces as found in the text above. Godly sorrow produces:
1) Repentance… Turning away from sin to God;
2) Earnestness… a driven to make things right;
3) Eagerness to clear yourself… willingness to do whatever it takes to make things right;
4) Indignation… the person is appalled that their sin has wounded others;
5) Alarm… distress over the event and its consequences;
6) Longing… passion to not let the matter go until correction is made;
7) Concern… a genuine care for those wounded by sin;
8) Readiness to see justice done… the person will submit themselves to whatever necessary to correct the situation without hesitation.
9) Each of these come from WITHIN the person, not imposed from others first.
If a person does not have all these, they do not have godly sorrow but worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow brings death. Godly sorrow brings life… peace and righteousness (Hebrews 12:4-11).
Final thought: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With that being the case, is it possible to minimize the regrets we have in life?
This may seem to some to be oversimplifying the whole matter, but THE best way to minimize and/or avoid having a regret is to do or NOT do the action in the first place! This boils down to the issue of making Godly decisions throughout life. On this point there are two sub-points: A) Moral issues, B) Decision making.
Being the kind of person who makes wise decisions is the result of maturing in Christ. This first refers to the basic day to day decisions that are made regarding honesty, integrity, morality, loving others, forgiveness, grace, and the like. These happen without much thought as a person is conformed to the image of Christ and are mostly the result of Christian Character. Then there are times major decisions are made that, if made wisely, eliminate future regrets.
In conclusion, here is a process for making Godly Decisions:
Gather all the available information…
Talk to others more wise and godly than yourself…
Seek God through prayer and Scripture…
Make a decision…
Trust God with the outcome without regret.
My prayer is that we all will consider seriously what is contained in these posts so that we can live a life of joy and peace free from regrets.