Regret is probably the strongest weapon in Satan’s arsenal because 1) all of us have or will experience it, and 2) it involves areas that we can’t change. We have said or done something we now wish we hadn’t, or we didn’t do or say something we now wish we had. The first we can no longer do anything about, and the second, though we might be able to come back and fill in the gaps, our actions or words are often too late to have the same impact.
So we apologize and try to make amends, but we have no control over the other person’s feelings or reactions and that’s often what we want to fix. We want to know that they feel fine and don’t harbor any ill will against us. Regret hits even harder if the person we have injured has passed away before we realize or rectify out lost or misused opportunities.
Not a one of us will escape regretting past actions, but none of us has to live under the weight of regret’s oppression, which is exactly what Satan wants us to do. Satan wants us to believe that claiming God’s promises is letting ourselves off the hook, and he wants us to suffer.
But staying in a perpetual state of suffering is actually the easy option. Claiming God’s promises is often harder for us to do, but God does give four distinct promises that should help us overcome regret.
First, we sincerely repent, not because we got caught or feel bad, which is a worldly approach, but because we are truly sorry. 2 Corinthians 7:10 –– “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
Second, we can accept God’s total cleansing. I John 1:9 –– “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Third, we are told to forget the past and move on. Philippians 3:13 –– “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.”
And finally, fully accept that God can and does create something good out of everything, even our mistakes. Romans 8:28 –– “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Remember, Satan’s sole purpose is to devour us (I Peter 5:8), but if we remain caught in a cycle of regret, we are devouring ourselves, making his task a whole lot easier.
So let us instead always remember that though we may not be able to alter our past, God can change our future.