Feelings of GUILT are complex. But believers know the way out: they go to Christ and claim the forgiveness of sins because of his sacrifice and grace.
Feelings of REGRET are complex too. Dealing with regret is not easy. Regret tends to cling. Regret is mostly connected with disagreeable situations that won’t go away. Regret nestles in the deepest level of our awareness.
The causes may be many and varied. Unfortunate events just happen and the memory lingers. Honest mistake may have unpleasant results. Or something that was left undone now comes to haunt us. The dictionary says that regret originally referred to bewailing the dead. Regret gives us a sense of having lost something valuable.
Where regret is not resolved it may produce secondary results: feelings of anger, weariness, inadequacy, shame, embarrassment, loss, and unworthiness.
What can we do about our regret…?
When we deal with guilt we go to Christ as SAVIOR.
When we deal with regret we must go to Christ as RULER.
Read his farewell words to the church again: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). All power is his. We live the Christian life in that power. Does that mean that in Christ disagreeable situations disappear? No, but it does mean that he will be in them with us. We may go to him in prayer and lay this regret before him. We may name this unresolved thing, and share it with him. We may turn the burden of our soul upon him. He will put it behind us and we need not look back.
We never think too much of Christ. “My crippled self” said Lew Smedes, “is embraced by Christ, dressed with Christ, and conformed to Christ”. Indeed, “… who shall separate us from the love of Christ? No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8). And for good measure, Lew Smedes added, “I believe that nothing I deserve to be ashamed of will ever make me unacceptable to God.”