I find it beautiful how nature and truth mimic one another. It only makes sense because the Author of truth is also the Creator of all things, so He has quite the advantage.
Regret is like the sea: it laps at your feet and can drown you if you’re not careful around the currents. It roars in the distance, hiding dangerous creatures in its dark depths. This sea also has calm days where the surface flawlessly reflects sunlight like a mirror. But my favorite similarity is that it has firmly established boundaries; God has told it, “You can only come this far” (Proverbs 8:29). The boundary of regret looks eerily similar to the cross.
I used to be consumed by regret over a broken relationship. I’d have imaginary conversations to fix it; I even dreamed about it. For years. Nope, don’t nominate me for the healthiest believer of all time award. Please know that I have built more familiarity with these shores than I ever wanted to. You are not alone. I don’t know where you are with your sea. Is it closer to a pond or a global flood? Does it hold you captive, forever wading up to your ankles and forgetting what dry feet feel like? Are you the cannonball type, getting lost in the depths off the dock?
As we dwell on the concept of regret, there are a few floatation devices I’ve learned are helpful to have at our disposal:
1. The Lord we serve never wastes pain. He has been in the business of redeeming broken things since the first humans held the first bitten fruit, sweet poison running down their throats and into their souls. His kindness leads us to repentance and then uses our mess to build a ministry. If you put your regret into His able hands, He will know exactly what to do with it. And with you.
2. Just as currents that are dangerous while swimming are helpful while boating, regret can fuel healthy action, propelling us into the future with gusto. If you can see what has built that pain in the past, you’ll be better equipped to know what to avoid or even work against later on. For instance, I might need to use my regret over going majorly into debt to put me on guard against retail therapy the next time I get emotional. As I learn healthy coping skills, I might begin teaching a small group on biblical financial management, providing a solid future for my family.
3. Regret and unforgiveness are so closely linked it’s not funny. Both are bondage we were never meant to be ensnared by. If there’s anything contributing to your sea that needs to be forgiven, let it go and be free. If you’re not the one who needs to forgive, either go ask for forgiveness from the one you offended if appropriate, or go straight to the Lord and repent. He casts our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and to the bottom of the sea (Micah 7:19). This slavery to yesterday doesn’t have to dictate your tomorrow. In fact, Christ died to make that statement true.
As fallen people, we will make mistakes, we will harbor regrets. But we can choose to live in defeat, tossed about by every wave and making the world wonder where our faith is, or we can choose to live in triumph, standing on the solid foundation of the blood of Christ. Either way, the choosing is ours. Can’t you lay your sea before Him? It wouldn’t be the first one He made a dry path through to let the captives go free.