2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NLT)
8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
The apostle Paul had confronted the Corinthians on an issue taking place in the church they had not confronted. Now Paul is writing to express his joy at the repentance taking place in the church. He explains how he knew what he wrote was harsh also to the point of feeling sorry for what he had to say. But because of his words the church repented and they changed direction on what they were doing. He said their repentance brought them to sorrow, but it is the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience to lead us away from sin. Paul goes on to say there is no regret for that sorrow. Regret only comes when there is worldly sorrow resulting from a lack of repentance.
According to Webster’s, regret is a sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s control or power to repair. Because we cannot control or repair what has happened in the past many of us continue to live as though there is no hope for our past sins. We stay focused on the sin we committed to the point it grieves us, holds us emotionally captive, and causes us to continue in our sorrow. And while it is true the sins of the past are beyond our control, it is not beyond God’s control. Our continued regret of sin is self centered, because we are saying God cannot help. Christ died for those sins of the past allowing us to live in freedom from sin in the present, the future and even the past. We can take the experiences of our past failures and let them bring us joy knowing we have repented and been freed from that sin. We can use our experiences to help others and show them God is in control and does have the power to repair the past. Our God lives beyond the boundaries of time and can heal our wounds no matter when they took place. Is there something you regret? Maybe it is because you realized you have no control to change the past, but remember God can. Pray God will free you from the regrets that bind you and let His forgiveness bring you joy and healing.