I think one of the heaviest burdens one can carry, is the experience of regret, over some sin we’ve committed.
What do you do, when you find yourself with thoughts and feelings of regret over sin in your life? It may just come once in a while or may be keeping you up at night, you just can’t seem to stop blaming yourself about that one decision, or some decisions you’ve made.
And it’s a cycle...where you are good for time...but then you find yourself again a year, month, week later…. just grieved over those things. It may even cause you to weep, sigh or fret about it. And the disappointment just doesn’t seem to...go way.
There is a WONDERFUL word for us, who have found ourselves regretting over some sin we’ve thought about or committed.
2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
Godly sorrow is truly good news! In fact, it’s great news! Paul even rejoiced over it because it produced a sorrow to the point of repentance, according to the will of God, leading me to being saved from sin.
Godly sorrow mourns over sin produces comfort (Matt 5:4), and it produces repentance (2 Cor 7:9-10), a turning to God from idols, and from sin (1 Thess 1:9). This turning to God is continual. 1 John 1:7 says “IF”, we “WALK” in the light (not in darkness/sin), we have fellowship with God and with others. If we do sin, we need to confess it to God and He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
This is not a formula where I just mouth words of what I’ve done in some vain repetition – it’s if I’m sad that I HURT God, my loving, kind heavenly Father, and/or someone else. Then godly sorrow grips me to the point that it produces a turning to God for help.
It is the work of God in my heart that I can even begin to see my need for repentance.
Rom 2:4 says, “....do you think lightly of the riches of MY kindness and tolerance and patience,...do you not know that MY kindness leads you to repentance?” It’s God’s kindness FIRST...that LEADS me to turn from sin to Him.
It’s when I think highly of and value His kindness, that it then moves me to repentance.
If I find myself regretting my sins after I’ve grieved and repented...it’s possible that I could be thinking lightly of His kindness, tolerance and patience with ME first (not someone else)!
God is saying “My very kindness, leads you, to come back to Me.” And Paul reminds us, we don’t have to regret if we have godly sorrow and have repented.
The Bible gives us examples of godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Jesus told a story in Luke 15:11-32 of a father and two sons. One of them took his father’s inheritance early and left home to spend it on wanton pleasure. Once he lost everything, before he says in v18 “I will get up and go to my father and say to him I have sinned,” it says (v17) “But when he came to his senses (What was I thinking?) How many of my father’s hired men have MORE than enough bread?” It says, NOT a few, BUT MANY of his dad’s hired men were WELL off. They didn’t just have enough, they had more than enough! He knew His father was a gracious, kind man. He had missed his father’s love and kindness back at home! I believe that was the kindness that would move him to begin his journey back home to his dad!
The sad thing is, the son had to GO hungry before he saw the kindness of his Father (v17). What does it take for me, to see His kindness? Do I wait till I’m starving before I go to hear my Father’s voice?
Do I always have to wait for a need to arise in my life before I am so driven to thankfulness...for how KIND God is to me?
Some people who have more than enough, are blind to how good they have it and live ungrateful lives.
While living in the house with his father, his older brother, and the hired men – the prodigal son saw day after day and year after year, the kindness of his father. But he still chose to rather have his father’s money to spend on his pleasures.
The proud elder brother, a long time servant of God, was obedient, but he looked down on others, was NEVER satisfied, and was also discontent with his father's kindness and love.
The Father gave him ALL he had but... it JUST WASN’T ENOUGH. (Luke 15:31)
Do I see my Father's kindness? Do I see His compassion & forgiveness (Eph 4:32)?
Do I express kindness towards others? (Luke 6:45) Or do I expect others to say thank you when I'm kind to enemies or anyone? It says God is kind to the ungrateful like us. We can be like Jesus showing kindness to those who don't deserve it. Showing kindness like Jesus is VERY practical.
It can be kind to take a days journey to share a word to someone God has laid on your heart (Acts 10:33). Or to offer warmth to people who are cold like in Acts 28:2.
There is also a warning in Rom 11:21-24, which says that God’s kindness spares us from His wrath provided we continue in the faith. If we don’t continue to appreciate and share His kindness with others we could find ourselves cut off from the Lord!
There are many other scriptures we can experience regarding the Lord's kindness.
I admit I have failed miserably at times, in these areas, but I'm making a choice, by faith, to “continue” in His kindness.
Another crucial part is, I don’t have to look back in torment. This is very tempting when we are living through consequences of what we did or said. The Lord knew we may struggle with remembering our sins, to the point of discouragement. He said twice in Hebrews, (8:12 and 10:17) that He chooses NOT to remember my sins. So I can choose not to dwell on them when they come to mind.
We find a great promise to have faith for in such times (Joel 2:25-26). God says, He WILL also, make up for the years the locusts have eaten! What you lose in your sin (v 26)...God WILL RESTORE in satisfaction, gratefulness and praise to Him! I will no longer have to live in shame.
Then the earnestness, vindication, indignation, fear (obedience), longing, zeal, avenging of wrong, can flow in my heart! (2 Cor 7: 11)
The Bible gives us examples of godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. We see what worldly sorrow did to Judas Iscariot after he betrayed Jesus. Matt 27:4-5 says that Judas felt remorse, he felt sorry and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary, and then he went away and hanged himself.
Judas was sorrowful, he admitted his sin and he even returned the 30 pieces of silver. But he didn’t turn to God and ask for forgiveness! His discouragement was so heavy, that he ended his own life.
The prodigal came home to a party, NOT to a guilt chamber to be tortured for what he had done. A genuine repentance was there. It started with: “my dad is kind, I have sinned, I am NOT worthy, not even to come back as a son, MAYBE a hired hand.” If he was willing to come home as a hired hand, he was willing to come home to submit to what dad would tell him to do. And then the party commences! (Luke 15:22-24)
Godly sorrow doesn’t depress, it produces a turning to God from sin! I confess, Lord I am sorry. What I did was not right. Please forgive me! I repent and turn to You. Thank you that I don’t have to live with regret! I can rejoice because godly sorrow leads me to You! It leads me to salvation away from sin, away from self and to Jesus! Being saved from ANY sin... ANY day is Your will! Heaven rejoices, each time a sinner repents...so should I...even when that sinner is me!
Regretting my sin leads me to discouragement and ultimately death.
Grieving or mourning over my sin leads me to You Father, to be blessed and comforted!
Matt.5:4 says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”