Once you have recognised your regret for what it is, you are then ready for the next step: release your regrets. Ask yourself these five questions:
Do you regret committing a sin?
Your regret may have been something you did that put distance between you and God. Letting go of that regret will require repentance and proceeding in a different direction. Repentance is relational. Repentance leads to forgiveness and brings you back into an intimate relationship with God.
Do you regret hurting someone else?
If your regret is the result of hurt you caused to someone else, you have to do your best to bring healing to the wound you’ve inflicted. If possible, apologise to the person and ask forgiveness. If there are circumstances that make this impossible, you have to forgive yourself and pray that reconciliation may be possible later.
Do you regret a mistake you made?
Sometimes you have made a tactical blunder, or committed an error in judgment, but it wasn’t a sin. It was an honest mistake or accident. So you don’t need to ask God’s forgiveness for it. You need to let yourself off the hook. Remind yourself that it is something to learn from, not something to torment yourself over.
Do you regret being hurt by someone else?
If somebody else has done something wrong to you, the answer is easy – forgive him/her. Easy to say, right? Usually hard to do. Sometimes the deeds that have been done to you were unbelievably cruel and hurtful, and it might take some time before you get to a point where you’re genuinely ready to forgive.
Do you regret pain you feel from life’s circumstances?
You developed a chronic illness. A hurricane swept away your home. Sometimes there is no one to blame for the regret you feel, it’s merely life’s circumstances that have caused your regret. Here is a word of caution: resist the temptation to blame God. He is never the author of evil. He grieves right alongside you and he wants you to share with him how you are feeling.
When you have done something wrong, or when something undeserved has happened to you, it’s easy to get hung up in guilt, blame, and grudge-holding. The questions and emotions inside you can prevent you from moving past your regrets and moving in a new direction. If regret has become a useless burden around your neck, drop it. Let it go. Release it.
What do you need to do in order to release your regret? Do you need to forgive someone? Yourself? What is one step you can take toward releasing your deepest regret?