“People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and
forsake them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
How often do you play the “if only” game?
If only I had it to do over.
If only I had listened sooner.
If only I could erase the past.
If only I could forgive myself.
Because no one is perfect, we all have regrets. We’ve all made bad choices,
said foolish things, wasted time, and hurt ourselves and others.
How do you release those regrets?
Here are some strategies that don’t work:
1. We bury them. Burying the past doesn’t work. Like creatures from a
horror movie, unresolved regrets come back to haunt us over and over.
Minimizing (“It wasn’t a big deal“), rationalizing (“Everyone does it“), and
compromising (lowering your standards) are ways we try to bury our
2. We blame others. This tactic is as old as Adam and Eve. When Adam sinned, he
took it like a man — he blamed his wife! We use blame to balance out our guilt.
“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And
he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked;
and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou
eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And
the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the
tree, and I did eat.” Gen 3:9-12
3. We beat ourselves. We try to pay for our guilt unconsciously through
illness, depression, setting ourselves up for failure, and other forms of
Self-punishment. The problem with beating up on yourself is this: your
conscience never knows when to stop! Many spend their entire lives in self-
What does God want me to do with my regrets?
A. Admit my guilt. Own up to it. Don’t make excuses. The Bible says,
“People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess
and forsake them, they will receive mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
B. Accept Christ’s forgiveness. He’s waiting to clean your slate. Ask him
to clear your conscience, and then remember “there is no
condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
C. Forgive yourself and focus on the future. “Do not remember past
events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do
something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I
will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-
Are there things from your past that you need to let go of? That you need to
hand over to God? Try the steps given above for getting over your regrets.
It is well with you all.