There is an eternal difference between regret and repentance. Regret feels bad about past sins. Repentance turns away from past sins. Regret looks to our own circumstances. Repentance looks to God. Most of us are content with regret. We just want to feel bad for awhile, have a good cry, enjoy the cathartic experience, bewail our sin, and talk about how sorry we are. But we don’t want to change. We don’t want to deal with God.
When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents, and those moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same, you have grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living. You are wrapped in endless boundless grace. And things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday.
If I were your enemy, I’d constantly remind you of your past mistakes and poor choices. I’d want to keep you burdened by shame and guilt, in hopes that you’ll feel incapacitated by your many failings and see no point in even trying again. I’d work to convince you that you’ve had your chance and blown it—that your God may be able to forgive some people for some things, but not you… not for this.
February 4, 2020
Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.
Failures we have repented of are no longer the standard that we must bow to. When we asked God and those we have hurt to forgive us, we were set back up to the high place that God assigned to us. Otherwise, the worst day of our life becomes the highest place that we have the right to lead others to. The truth is that forgiveness restores the standard of holiness in us and through us.
Augustine says that we may, out of our dead sins, make stepping stones to rise to the heights of perfection. What did he mean by that? He meant that the memory of our falls may breed in us such a humility, such a distrust of self, such a constant clinging to Christ as we could never have had without the experience of our own weakness.