What is Regret?

To regret is to feel sorrow or remorse for an act, fault, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc. When you regret something, you think of it with a sense of loss. In other words, you feel badly because things might have gone differently had you done something different.

Some people say they want to live without regret, but I’m not sure that’s even possible. I do believe we can use regret as a tool for growth. In doing so, regret becomes a healthy experience as we understand it and work through it on our way to repair and growth.

Learn from Regret

Regret can be turned into lessons. In this sense, we can live without regret. The key is not collecting regrets but instead transforming them as we admit mistakes, faults, disappointments, dissatisfaction, etc. and open ourselves to what those experiences can teach us.

Peter is a terrific example of letting regret lead to transformation. He clearly regretted denying Christ. Instead of allowing it to destroy him, though, he eventually got to Jesus and was restored. (Mark 14:66-72; John 21:15-17)

Judas, on the other hand, exemplifies what happens when we let regrets destroy us. He immediately regretted his decision to betray Christ and tried to return the payment he received for doing so. But that wasn’t enough to ease him in any way, and he became so overwhelmed with regret that he killed himself. (Matthew 27:1-10)

Be Led by Regret

We all make mistakes, so we all have regrets. Our regrets come from foolish and ignorant choices, especially from the choice to sin. Every mistake, though, every regret, can be used for our good (Romans 8:28).

Before the weight of regret becomes too heavy, forgive yourself and let yourself be forgiven. Let regret lead you to repentance instead of self-destruction.

“For godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10, NKJV)

Refuse to let regret win. Instead, let Jesus transform you through his grace and mercy. His death on the cross paid your debt – all of it – and you can be forgiven for any and all of your mistakes.

“God put the wrong on [Christ] who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (Acts 2:23, Msg.)

You have two choices when you face regret. Let it consume your life or lay it at the feet of Jesus and become new again.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17; NKJV)