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Monday, March 24, 2014

God's Mercy Toward Your Regrets

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

I have tried to live my life in such a way that when I looked back over my it one day, I’d look back feeling no regrets. I've really tried to follow and obey the Lord and do what I believed I was supposed to do but, if I am perfectly transparent with you, I've had my moments where I cared more about me than obeying God. I've had my moments where my attitude or my words were less than appropriate. I have had my moments where I should have taken a different course of action. I've had moments of opportunity to be a better husband to Renee or a better father to my children. For the most part, I’m happy with how I've walked out my life in the Lord, but as hard as I have tried, I can’t say there aren't any regrets. I have a few.

Having said that, I refuse to spend too much time mulling over the past feeling bad regarding those few things I regret. When I do reflect on them, I look at them only with short term-views – enough to bring them before God and examine my heart and seek His help so as not to repeat them. God’s Word instructs us what to do with regret. It says, "For God can use sorrow (or regrets) in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death. (2 Cor. 7:10) Regrets do damage if we don’t forgive ourselves after God does and move on, yet moving on doesn't mean become callous and indifferent toward past mistakes. It means be sincerely sorrowful, make changes, learn from your mistakes or regrets and then move forward.

Some time ago, someone I had considered a good friend began to lie to me about something in order to accomplish an agenda he had. Those lies turned into a nightmare that caused serious hurt and pain to a number or people. When he was caught, I know at first he felt regret. But instead of admitting it and being sorry for the kind of behavior that led up to it, he decided he didn't want to take the responsibility for the hurt that was caused by his actions. Consequently, his actions and behavior did not change. Today’s Fresh Manna warns us against hardening our heart at those moments of regret and ditching godly sorrow. "...You don't want to end your life full of regrets, nothing but sin and bones, Saying, "Oh, why didn't I do what they told me? Why did I reject a disciplined life? Why didn't I listen to my mentors, or take my teachers seriously? My life is ruined!" (Proverbs 5:7 MSG)

Regrets are something to learn from. That is the purpose of feeling regret – so as to see the error or the thing we do regret and repent for it. Having godly sorrow and making amends is a good thing. It brings healing. But, it then becomes critical that we move on. It’s imperative to know that we will make mistakes and do things we regret. No one escapes that. You might make a wrong decision. You might slip and act or speak out of character. You might come to realize that you tuned out or disobeyed what the Lord was leading you to do. When you do, if you’re spiritually and emotionally healthy, you’ll feel regret. When you do feel regret, make amends to God and if possible, and to anyone you are aware of that you hurt. If what you’re regretting has mostly just hurt you, repent before the Lord and turn from it. If you’ll learn from what you regret and move forward, you will minimize future regrets rather than getting caught in them like quicksand.

God has great mercy on those that desire to learn from their mistakes and refocus on His instructions for life. Psalm 119:77 says, “Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your precepts are my delight. When we blow it, God not only has mercy, but He offers His grace – His supernatural help in times of trouble to those that will admit and turn from their regrets. Proverbs 3:34 says, He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.

If you've blown it somewhere, don’t get buried in regret. Take care of business with God and with man. Have sincere godly sorrow before the Lord and those appropriate. Then receive the tender mercy of God and His grace to move forward. Let go of the past because you can’t change it. Look forward to the grace of God helping you live your life with as few regrets possible. Let today be that new day. Then move forward in His mercy and grace!

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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