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?