What We Regret

  1. We regret choices we made/choices we never had (job, marriage, family)
  2. There are things we wish we had not said/had said
  3. We wish we had spent more time on(family, friend, laughter, roses)
  4. We held grudges, built walls, set conditions, withheld forgiveness
  5. We regret risks we did not take: challenges, relationships, etc.
  6. We regret experiences that wounded us/changed us/robbed us/crippled us
  7. We mourn dreams never fulfilled/journeys never taken
  8. We may have regretted that we are not someone else

What Regret Does

  1. Regrets focus our attention on the past: what has been-not what will be
  2. The rehearsal of our regrets is both haunting and paralyzing
  3. Regrets rob us of joy, and practice sadness and pain
  4. Dwelling on what “has been” diverts energy from what “is” and “will be”
  5. Dead Ends: Abusive Reactions, Depression, Drugs, Isolation, Self-pity, Gradual Suicide, Workaholism

How Can We Heal?

  1. Acknowledging their existence: Am I denying the pain of certain wounds?
  2. Embracing a genuine desire to be freed (Some people choose to punish themselves)
  3. Accepting your choices as ours, taking responsibility for our part, but NOT blaming ourselves for what we are not responsible
  4. Forgiving ourselves for being fallible (accepting the fact that I am)
  5. A season of sadness: letting go/a season of anger: it takes time…
  6. A season of grace/ a season of hope: I am more than the sum of my regrets
  7. Embracing the future: Released to celebrate my life as it is/not “should have been” (biblical examples: Jacob & Esau, David, Simon Peter (John 21), Paul (2 Cor. 4-7)

For Further Reading: Sidney B. and Suzanne Simon, Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with Your Past & Get On With Your Life (Warner); Lewis Smedes, Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve (Harper & Row); Daniel G. Bagby: Healing Our Hurts: Coping With Difficult Emotions (Smyth & Helwys).

Written by Dan Bagby