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Tavern Talk #47: Looking beyond Regret

Regrets, I’ve had a few.


Regret is the emotion of wishing one had made a different decision because the consequences of that decision are perceived to be unfavorable.



There are two sides to the regret coin. On the one hand, we can learn from our mistakes. They can be a lesson. On the other hand, dwelling on the past won’t change anything. Regret can retard progress. If we take our lesson and move on, perhaps we will make better decisions in the future. If we live in the past, we simply avoid mistakes by not making decisions. We miss the present and soil the future.



In Romans, Paul tells us, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Translators note that there are manuscripts that say this a little differently. Some say, “all things work for together for good to those who love God” or “God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good – with those who are called according to his purpose.” Regardless, this does not mean that all things happen for a reason. It means with God we can take or make something good from everything. So, even when we screw up (do something that we regret), if we seek to do God’s will, with his help we can make something of it.



If the errant decision that we make is a sin[i], then regret is only the first step in our recovery. We must repent. I know, that seems like an old word or dated concept, but it is just as important as it ever has been. Repent simply means that we must turn away from sin. We must try to change our ways. We must seek to turn back toward God and the path he has shown us through Jesus Christ. We can’t simply regret, seek forgiveness, and move on without any remorse and a desire for change.


But, regardless of our continuing sins, if we regret, repent, and believe[ii], our sins are forgiven. God forgives and forgets. It is as if they did not happen. How powerful is that?


Regrets. We’ve all had a few. They are powerful. But they can be positive. Regret gives us the opportunity to repent, rebuild, return, renew, and restore.


Additional Readings:

Romans 8:28

Mark 1:15

Matthew 3:2

Matthew 4:17

Luke 13:3



Luke 5:31-32

Luke 15:7-10



[i] Is inconsistent with loving God and loving our neighbor [ii] Believe in the gospel – the good news – that Christ allows this to happen


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