Release Your Regrets

Question #1: Do you regret committing a sin?

It’s important to determine whether your regret involves sin or not, because if it does, letting go of the regret will require a key step — repentance. To repent is to agree with God that you have turned away from him or have not following his plan for your life. It also means that you resolve to live differently in the future through his help.
So how do we release this regret? We Ask God for Forgiveness. That’s how David released his regret — See Psalm 51; 1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Question #2: Do you regret hurting someone else?

When our regret is hurting someone else, we need to Ask forgiveness from the person you’ve hurt. Furthermore, if possible, make amends to the person for your wrongdoing and seek reconciliation. See Romans 12:8.

Question #3: Do you regret making a mistake?

When we make a mistake, we may feel the need to punish ourselves or beat ourselves up. We haven’t sinned, but we still feel awful. When we make a mistake, we need to Forgive Yourself.

Question #4: Do you regret being hurt by someone or something?

To release the regret of being hurt by someone or some circumstance, we need to Forgive the Offender. This absolutely is easier said than done. Our humanness wants to be vengeful. But holding on to our hurt only keeps us from moving forward. See Ephesians 4:32.
How do we forgive someone who has hurt us? We draw strength from the God who has forgiven us. We depend on God to heal our hearts. Steps to releasing this regret: pray, have an honest conversation with the offender, write a letter.
By now, I’m sure you have at least one regret heavy on your heart. How far into your future do you intend to carry the pain of your past? Starting over is for everyone. No matter who you are, no matter what you’re holding onto, you can live a life beyond regret. It starts with a decision; a decision to not let the pain from your past influence your future anymore.
Don’t relive your regrets, release them.

Life Application Questions

Last week Stephen encouraged us to recognize our regrets.  But to move past your recognized regrets you need to release them.
Why do you think people struggle to release their regrets?
How is it related to the sorry cycle of longing and regret?
Kelly suggested four “troubleshooting questions” to help us release our regrets.
Read Romans 12:18.  What does this teach about asking for forgiveness from someone you have hurt?
Read Ps 51:1-10.  What does David’s prayer (after adultery, deceit and murder) teach us about asking for forgiveness from God?
Read Ephesian 4:32.  What does this teach about forgiving others?
Read Matt 18:21-35.  How does this parable help us better understand Ephesians 4:32? 
How can we find the power to forgive?
What is one step you need to take this week to apply this message to your life?


Recognize Your Regrets

In order to break out of the Sorry Cycle of longing and regret, we must first recognize our regret to understand what it is we are feeling sorry about.
We have two choices in front of us when it comes to regret…

Choice #1: Hide Your Regret

This is what it’s like when we choose to hide our regrets. It’s like we’re walking around trying to live our lives while at the same time ignore the regrets buried just beneath the surface. We don’t want to think about it, so we shovel more dirt over our regrets hoping to bury them deeper. — And we can get really good at keeping them there.

Truth is, your regret will always be fighting to come to the surface. David and Regret (2 Samuel 11; 12:1-7; 13)

“There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” (2 Samuel 12:1-4)

David is enraged by Nathan’s story, and he says: “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! – He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” (2 Samuel 12:5-6)
Now, I wonder how long Nathan paused after hearing David’s response. I can imagine the tension building…Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7)
And the regret breaks through the surface. David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13)

Choice #2: Recognize Your Regret

We have an enemy who wants us to keep our regrets in the dark. He whispers in our ears, “If people find out, it will ruin you. Don’t’ you dare let that out.” And so there it sits…

It sits below the surface feeding our shame and our heartache. But if we want to start over, we’ve gotta bring it to the surface, expose it to the light, and recognize our regret. 
And I know this is not easy!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
You have one of two options: To hide your regrets or to humble yourself and recognize them.
-First, get honest with yourself. You have regrets.
-Get honest with God. What happened will come as no surprise to him, but he needs to hear it from you.
-Get honest with someone else – someone who can be a Nathan to you and help you start over.

Life Application Questions

1. Our natural tendency is to hide our regrets. Why do you think that is? How can you
personally relate?

2. Denial and Multitasking are common coping mechanism when hiding our regrets. Can you identify which coping mechanism relates best to you? Why?

3. Hiding your regrets is dangerous, it limits you, exhausts you, and even paralyses you. Share a specific time in your life when you experienced this to be true.

4. Satan loves it when we live life in the Sorry Cycle. How does he lie/deceive you when it comes to your regrets, in order to keep you in the cycle?

5. God places people and circumstance in our lives to help get our attention. God used Nathan for David. Who or what has God placed in your life to help you see the light?

6. Pride gets in the way and will keep us from digging up our regrets. What can we do to humble ourselves?

7. We all need accountability. Someone who knows us and has permission to speak boldly and honestly into our lives. Who have you given permission to do this? If not, who can you seek out this week?


Love Your Regrets

Regrets of Action — Feeling sorry for what I did. Action regrets make up the largest and most common category of regrets. Because we make choices many times every day.

Regrets of Inaction — Opportunities I did not act upon. Researchers say in the short term people tend to regret actions; but in the long term, we’re more likely to regret inaction.

Regrets of Reaction — My response to being hurt. When bad things happen to us, quite naturally we regret them. There’s nothing wrong with that. What could be problematic is what we do in response to these regrets. sometimes these regrets of reaction are the ones that hurt the most.

Sorry Cycle — We go from longing to regret and back to longing and then regret and then longing and still more regret!

Whether it is action, inaction or reaction – we all have regrets, and I want to show you how to break out of the sorry cycle and not only break out of it, but learn to love your regrets! God is big enough to redeem even our worst regrets. He can use everything in our lives for a greater good. We can all start over and live a life beyond regret.

Biblical Example: Jesus Helps Peter Start Over (Luke 22:54-62; John 21:1-17)

Jesus confirms the relationship. Implied in Jesus’ question, “Do you love me?” is a priceless reassurance: “Because I still love you.” When we know we are loved, we can find the courage to face our regrets.

Jesus confirms his purpose. By giving Peter a job to do he is saying, “You still have a purpose to fulfill. You are not disqualified. Jesus refuses to let Peter get stuck in the Sorry Cycle. He confirms their relationship. He confirms Peter’s calling. And with this, Peter can move on from his regret and start over.

We see “regret” as a finish line, when in fact it’s meant to be a starting line. Regret is actually meant to be a helpful thing, a “functional” emotion. Regret moves us to reparative action. It gives us motivation to do things differently, to make things right. In that way, we can learn to love our regrets because they can launch us forward into a better future.

When we learn to love our regrets, we can grow from them and discover that it’s never too late to start over.

Life Application Questions

What do you think about these categories of regret? Does the list resonate with you?
Which bucket would you say holds the majority of your regrets?
Read Proverbs 28:13 and Psalm 51:10.
Have you ever been hurt by someone who didn’t own their mistake or bad choice? If so, how could their ownership contribute to the greater good of all involved and overall good of the situation?
Have you ever made a situation worse for yourself or others by not owning the effects of your bad choice or mistake?
In what ways have your own regrets offered important and helpful feedback?
Read John 21:15-19. After Peter denies his association, friendship, and love for Jesus, Jesus reassures Peter that his love and purpose are still on the table for Peter to receive. Peter was overcome by regret, but Jesus was still present with him and inviting him into God’s mission.
Have you ever felt unloved by God or disqualified for God’s work because of your regrets? How did you move past that?
Have you ever seen God use a broken part of your past to move his mission forward?
Read 2 Corinthians 7:8-11. Jesus wants us to know we can all live a life beyond regret. While owning what went wrong, being compassionate to all the feelings involved, and respecting consequences, regret can be a catalyst for hope, freedom, and life-giving change. In fact, in this sense, we can learn to love our regret, learn from it, and use it for good.
Has regret ever lead to life-giving change for you? Share about that experience.
In light of your regrets, are there any next right steps you should take to make to help bring hope, freedom, or life-change to the relationship or situation?