Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:12-14 ESV
Regret is a paralyzing focus on the past, and it significantly impacts our ability to receive His grace in our present and our future. But regret is so often a part of who we are, and it’s a motivator for what we do.
We are not perfect. As much as I want to be the type of person who gets it right all the time, that’s just not going to happen. I am going to lash out in anger, I am going to give in to the consuming fears and anxiety, I am going to jump into the pit of despair from time to time—even though I know I shouldn’t. I am going to judge other people, I am going to choose harsh words over kind ones, I am going to insist on my own way rather than being gentle. I am going to continue to struggle with forgiving those big hurts, and I’m going to be challenged to lay down my earthly idols. Our brokenness is part of who we are, and it’s going to negatively impact our marriages from time to time.
Accepting what’s done is done is hard. I can’t pull back the words I’ve said, nor can I take a re-do on a choice I’ve made. We don’t get to relive the moments of our lives trying to do it better. We have to accept what’s done is done, and make a conscious choice to move on.
Regret does serve a purpose if you view it through the lens of God’s grace. Our words and our actions are the result of what exists in our hearts. If we take the time to pause on what we said or what we did, it can help us to see a place where we hide sin. If we pay close attention to our actions and our words, and we spend time reflecting on how they line up with God’s Word, we will be able to see into those dark places. Regret over our actions allows us grieve the sin that exists in our hearts, and it can lead to transformation. Regret can humble us and lead us to repentance. It can cause us to seek forgiveness from our spouses and begin the healing process.
But that’s it. After those moments, we let the regret go. It serves a purpose, and then we’re done with it. You see, God convicts, but the enemy condemns. God pricks our hearts when we behave in a way that is inconsistent with His Word in an effort to reveal where we need to grow—that’s part of the sanctification process. We are to confess and repent of it in those moments, but then we are to accept the forgiveness offered by Jesus when He died on the cross.
The problem is the enemy swoops in to turn that conviction into condemnation. He’s the one who has you dwelling on your poor choices, and he’ll continue to bring it up to you so long as you let him. He will remind you over and over what a failure you are, and he’ll use it at just the right moments to keep you isolated and quiet the Spirit’s promptings inside you.
You are forgiven. Immediately and completely for all your wrongs. Let them go, and stop living in regret. It’s keeping you from seeing what God has in store for you. Forget what lies behind in your marriage, and strain forward to the better days ahead. Press on toward the prize of all God has for you in this union.
Press on, you are loved 💗
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