Regret can be a stronghold in our lives because it holds us in the past and prevents us from moving freely into our destiny. In our troubled world it seems that most people for most of the time have something which they wish they hadn’t done or wish they had done differently. Regrets are often kept secret because they can carry a sense of shame. A dictionary definition of regret is ‘being sorrowful, mournful or sorry for a past mistake or decision.’
The Bible paints a two-sided picture. Firstly, we read from its beginning to its end of people who made mistakes, rebelled against God, sinned deliberately, leaving a legacy behind them, or chose their own way instead of the right way. Secondly, we read the story of the amazing love which flows from the heart of God and His passionate desire to restore and forgive. These things are written for us, so that we will have endurance, hope and encouragement to press on and not give up.
Simon Peter is one of the best-known Bible characters. He expressed great love for Jesus and yet at the most needful time in the life of his Lord, he let Him down and was overwhelmed with regret. If we’re honest we will all admit that we can identify with him, because not one of us can claim that we have lived a perfect life. Like Peter, we constantly need God’s forgiveness and restoration.
On His way to the cross, having celebrated the last supper with His disciples, Jesus warned them that they would all fall away. Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I Have to die with you, I will never disown you” (Mark 14:31). He meant it. He was full of self-confidence, which he must have regretted later. Sadly, self-confidence would never carry him through the temptation that lay ahead. There is a major difference between self-confidence and confidence in God. I know that from my own experience because I too have a proud heart. ‘Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him’ (Jeremiah 17:7) .
Immediately before the cross, Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him into the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was deeply distressed and troubled, overwhelmed with sorrow. Three times He asked them to watch and pray so that they would not fall into temptation.
The words of Jesus directly to Peter were, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch with me for one hour?” (Mark 14:37-38). Overtaken by lethargy he ceased to pray. Locked into himself, he failed to identify with Jesus and the terrible death He was about die. Lethargic believers are no match for spiritual attacks.
Jesus was arrested and taken to the High Priest’s courtyard. Peter followed Him. He denied Jesus three times, because he sat with the guards and warmed Himself at their fire (Mark 14:54). He sought comfort in the wrong place and with the wrong people. This must have been the biggest regret of Peter’s life. When he realised what he had done, he broke down and wept bitterly.
Have I ever denied being a follower of Jesus through words, actions, and choices I have made? Peter’s tears reflected his love for Jesus. Through failure, he faces himself, the issues in his heart, which are also in my heart. He needs a meeting with Jesus which will transform him so he can deal with his regrets and receive the restoration that only Jesus can give. For Peter this happened after the resurrection. I too need restoration meetings with Jesus, so that I can leave my regrets behind and live a life of freedom, peace, and joy to honour Him.
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