Regret is a prison worse than any other, darker than any dungeon – that holds secrets. The pit is deepest and sickest because it lies in our stomach, when suddenly, the memories flash through our minds. Few know what went down there, and we hope the rattling of the chains that keep us bound will not be heard. I have them. You have them. A friend recently mentioned on Facebook that she has them, and a whole slew of people echoed her call in one form or another with I can relate.
How can we erase horrifying memories of the past? You may have many or you may have one particular decision that you just can’t seem to shake. What do we do with those gut-wrenching thoughts that appear from nowhere, paralyzing our thoughts and actions, deeming us unworthy of the Gospel we proclaim? You’ve been there, minding your own business, when out of the blue, you’re haunted by the past. Satan questions your very ability to speak the truth of God’s word. What do I do with my regret? We push it down, it rises up and sometimes, the burden is so great we finally need relief.
The LORD as a Stronghold
Stronghold is not a term we typically use in relation to the Lord, but it was of common use in the Old Testament, particularly by David. “The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.” (Psalm 37:39) Against regret, may the Lord be our stronghold – a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
We may not be able to erase memories of the past, but the Lord is our stronghold. He will build a wall of protection to guard our minds in the time of trouble.
The Best of Forgiveness
It is often said that to move beyond regret we must somehow find it within our hearts to forgive ourselves. I believe forgiveness of myself is too small. Christ’s forgiveness of me is bigger than what I can do for myself, and it is sufficient to cover regret. When I tried to move beyond my guilt, I was pretending. I was only covering over my sins of the past, holding my breath, hoping enough time would pass to regard me acceptable again.
There is a stronghold greater than the regret of my past – the blood of Christ.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:9)
The petty forgiveness I can offer myself nowhere compares to what the blood of Christ lavishes on my life.
Nothing is Wasted
In Christ, nothing in our lives is wasted. He makes all things beautiful for himself – yes, even your thing. It is not possible to live a life with no regrets because we are fallen, but it is possible for that regret to be so overwhelmed and swallowed up in the blood of Christ that we rejoice in the work Christ has done on our behalf.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
This Easter, may the blood of Christ be your stronghold in a newfound way. May you experience release from regret and live freely in forgiveness, redemption, justification and salvation.