We all wrestle with could’a, should’a and would’a, three feeders of regret. The idea of regret relies on our feeling that we should or should not have done something. When we sit in regret we are dwelling on what we should or should not have done.
This can, and often does, develop into shame, that place in life where we think we are bad because we did (or did not do) X. I’m convinced that the Enemy uses shame way more often than we realize.
For the disciple of Jesus there is a problem with this thinking. Our standing with God has nothing to do with what we have or have not done. Our standing with God is based completely on the finished work of Christ.
So when we regret, when we dwell in our regret, we are looking at our own work rather than at the work of Christ. We might even say that we are putting Jesus back on the cross.
The moment we are convicted about something we should, or should not of done, we must run to God. We confess. In some (many?) cases we should contact someone else and ask for forgiveness. But ultimately once we have done this we are no longer to live in regret. Condemnation is gone for those IN Christ Jesus.
The prodigal son, as depicted in the photograph above (of the painting that hangs in the National Gallery in Washington – one of my favorites on my visits there) sits pensively among the swine. He just needed to get up and run to his father.
Yeah, that’s it.
Run to the Father, whose Son has made the way possible, whose Spirit is calling and whose arms are open wide.