RELEASING YOUR REGRETS
Theme: God never meant for us to carry regrets.
|Text: Psalm 32:1-5
Introductory Remarks: God has the remedy for our past regrets.. When we seem to have difficulty releasing some of our past. His Word is very specific in giving us the steps to wash away guilt from the past.
What do we normally do with our past regrets?
We Bury Them
We often hear the phrase, "You've just got to bury the past." It is impossible for you to bury the past. Burying the past would be like burying a monster inside of very being. The monster will pop up its head at inopportune times. Especially, when you don't want it to happen. Very few times do we understand some of the foolish things that we have done, but we sure can regret that we were so unwise.
How do we try to bury the past regrets:
We Blame Others
It is so easy to blame others for our sins. We seem to think that blaming others excuses us of our sins. This is not a new tactic. We have all been guilty of it at one time or another. You feel the guilt. It's an uneasy feeling and you want to get rid of it so blaming someone else helps you to feel somewhat better. The conversation might be like this, "You made me do it". or "I would have prepared myself for a better life, but so-and-so did not give me a chance". The blaming seems to give a balance to the guilt. Sorry, it doesn't work. You can't pass your guilt onto someone else. You are responsible for the decisions that you made.
We Punish Ourselves
We condemn and berate ourselves. We seem to think that berating ourselves is like paying for our feeling of regret. Read Psalm 28:4-8,"I am drowning in the flood of my sins, they are a burden to heavy to bear. Because I have been foolish, I'm utterly worn out and crushed, my heart is troubled". David had just committed adultery and murder. He tries to pay for the sin himself by beating himself. He knows that he has done wrong so by telling himself that he is no good he punishes himself. The only problem with this method is the inner conscious never lets go. You are consistently feeling lousy.
Finally, you come to the realization that none of these methods are working. You are still carrying a heavy load. It is like a tons of bricks tied to your back. You are now ready to ulnload this heavy burden and obey the instruction of God's Word.
How to Dump the Load of Regrets
In the Scriptures we find three ways to
"dump the load". The first one is to admit your faults and
confess it. Psalm 51:2-4 puts it like this:
Psalm 51:2-4 puts it like this:
David did not try to bargain with God. You don't have to bargain with God when confessing the sin. God is not moved by our bargaining plea. All we have to do is confess the wrong and ask for forgiveness.
Secondly, accept God's forgiveness. Once you have confessed it there is no need to keep confessing the same sin. Here is the simple act of faith. Make a clean sweep with no compromises or half performances. Take into yourself the forgiving love of Christ. When you ask for forgiveness the mercy of God has no delays, no hesitation. The Scripture tells us in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Isaiah 38:17 tells us He has cast all our sins behind His back. Gone - Forgiven - so it is time to forget it. Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross for you.
A story I read in Abundant Living by Stanley Jones relates forgiveness in a beautiful way. "A minister was in a train, the only occupant of the coach except a young man who seemed very ill at ease. He would move from seat to seat, take up a book and drop it again. The minister went over to him, sat down beside him and asked what was the matter. The boy shut up like a clam, but at last he began to tell the minister his story: "I run away from home and I've been gone for a long time, I've wanted to go back and I wrote my father asking if he would take me back, but there has been no reply. So I have written my mother and told her that I am not going to wait for a reply, that I am coming home and that if they would take me back she must hang a white rag on the crb-apple tree down near the railroad tracks so that I can see it when the train goes by. We are getting near and I am afraid to look. If I do not see the white rag I shall understand and go on by. We are getting near and I'm afraid to look - afraid that the white rag won't be there. The minister told the lad that he need not look, that he would look for him. The boy sat with his eyes closed. As they drew near to where the tree was, the hand of the minister closed tight on the boy's knee, and he said, "My boy, there is a white rag on every limb of that tree!"
Something similar awaits you as you return to God. If you take one step of faith toward Him, He will take two steps toward you.
The third way to dump the load of regrets is to forgive yourself and looked to the future. You have been released to serve in the Kingdom of God. Isaiah 43:18-19 (GNT), 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!" Remember, you are now going in a new direction. Your relief has come through confession and repentance. Now you are ready to follow the unfolding will of God. You will now need resources to refill and replenish the inward man. Christ has swept you clean from past regrets and sins. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit will direct your path, but you must daily put the Word in your heart and obey. Decide what will have your primary attention and discipline yourself to be consistent with prayer, meditating on the Word of God and serving in His Kingdom. God wants to change your character.
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (NLT). You are not just turning a new leaf, you are a new creature working on a new character. The Holy Spirit is working in you daily as you yield to him. God has good plans for you.
He speaks in Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall so: I will guide you with my eye" (NKJ). Again, God's Word gives another assurance in Proverbs 3:5,6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct you paths."