Recovering From Regrets

Bible Book: Psalms  32
Subject: Regrets; Forgiveness; Revival; Renewal; Failure

We have been talking about "stings" for the past few weeks, hurts that run deeply in our lives. We have dealt with general hurt: Weaknesses and Resentment. Today, we will deal with a very poisonous sting called regret.

Everybody has regrets. We stumble. We say foolish things. We make bad decisions. We hurt ourselves. We hurt others. When you cut yourself, you bleed. It is a natural consequence. When you violate God's principles for living you automatically have regrets. God has made a way to recover from regrets. Psalms 32: 1-5 tells us what God will do with our regrets if we allow him to. His desire is to release us and restore us. The problem comes when we either:

Inappropriately deal with our regrets. Don't deal with them at all.

To deal with regrets wrongly or not deal with them at all produces tremendous guilt that will sap the very joy of life from us. Someone has said, "We crucify ourselves between two thieves; regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow." You don't have to live the rest of your life under a load of guilt.

Today, I want to talk about:

i. What we often do with regrets

ii. What we need to do with regrets

III. What God will do with our regrets

I. What We Often Do With Regrets
A. Discard Them

We try to discard them. Have you heard the phrase? "You've got to bury the past." It is impossible to bury the past. I guarantee you it will resurrect itself at the most inopportune time. Psalms 19:2 says "No one can see his own errors; deliver me, lord, from my secret faults." We all have secret faults. We cannot just discard them.

There are several ways we try to discard our regrets. Minimize them. It's no big deal. If it's no big deal, why do you still remember it after all these years? We rationalize them. I am not the only one. If so and so had not done what they did, I would not have done what I did. Compared to others I am not so bad. We lower our standards to fit what we are doing. Proverbs says, "The man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance."

B. Displace Them

We displace responsibility for them. "We love to accuse others and excuse ourselves." The blame game never releases us of our regrets.

C. Disintegrate Because of them

We disintegrate because of them. We administer self-punishment. There are many ways we punish ourselves. Depression can be a form of self-inflicted punishment. Setting yourself up for failure.

Suicide. "Where there is a problem with self-inflicted punishment your conscious never knows when to quit." There is a better way to handle regrets.

II. What We Need To Do With Our Regrets

A. Take Responsibility For Our Guilt And For Our Wrongs

This is what David did in Psalms 32. This is the most difficult step. We don't like to admit we are wrong. Don't make deals with God. Don't half-heartily confess. Don't put conditions on confession, such as, "I know I was wrong but..."

You've got two options with regrets: Confession or Condemnation. Accept forgiveness. A lot of people go the first mile, accepting responsibility, but never go the second mile, accepting forgiveness. Romans 8:1 says, "There is no condemnation for those who live in Christ Jesus." God forgives instantly and completely. Isaiah 38:17 "You have cast all my sins behind your back." He will wipe the slate clean. It's like the etch-a-sketch we played with as children.

B. Forgive Yourself

This is the most difficult step. It is difficult because we have an enemy who doesn't want us to accept forgiveness. We have people who want let us forget. We have memories that are powerful reminders.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 "The Lord says, 'Do not cling to the events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do.'" Our God is a God of a second chance. More important than where we have been is where we are going.

III. What God Will Do With Our Regrets

A. God Will Give Us A Clean Conscious

Isaiah 1:18, "Come, let's talk this over, says the lord. No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow." God doesn't rub our sins in; he rubs them out.

B. God, On The Cross, Paid Our Debt In Full

How long do you remember a bill you have paid? How long does God remember a sin that has been dealt with and forgiven?

C. God Will Change You

When god forgives sin, he changes the sinner.

D. God Loves You As You Are, But...

He loves you so much he will not leave you as you are!