How to Forgive Yourself After Regret

John Jan 07, 2023
6 People Read
man with grief
Table of Contents
  1. The Long, Painful Journey
  2. Grace, Love, And Forgiveness
  3. Become More Graceful in Relation to Regret
  4. What To Do
    1. Related Articles

Mike stared at the empty house in front of him and sighed. It was hard to believe that this was once his home, filled with the laughter of his wife and children. Now, it was just a shell of what it once was. The walls were bare, the furniture was gone, and the only thing left was the memories of happier times.

Mike is a Marine Corps veteran, and for over 12 years, he had served his country in combat zones. The constant cycle of deployment and redeployment, relocation across the country, and separation from loved ones took a toll on Mike and his family. It was too much to bear, and Mike and his wife divorced, and she gained full custody of their children.

Looking back on his time as a husband, father, and Marine, Mike’s identity was in his career where he was so focused on being the best Marine he could be, that he lost sight of the most important things in life. His marriage and parenting suffered as a result, and he now realized that he had made some big mistakes.

If he could go back and change things, he would. But he couldn’t, and all he could do now was regret his choices and try to move on with his life.

grayscale photo of a man praying

The Long, Painful Journey

For Mike, his journey could be long and arduous while he heals from the hurt of losing everything he held onto so tightly. He tried. He really did try. But looking back, he realizes that he went about it the wrong way. He was selfish. Questions like “who am I” and “what do I do now” now swirl around his head constantly. Mike is lost. He’s broken. He’s hurting. Mike needs grace and forgiveness, and he needs to learn to forgive himself.

Regret can entrap us because it can keep us thinking about the choices we’ve made over and over again, wishing we had done something else. The severity of the regret is dependent on the magnitude of the choice. Regret can result in a range of negative emotions such as frustration, anger, depression, shame, anxiety, and stress, which can negatively impact our health both physically and mentally.

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Grace, Love, And Forgiveness

Jesus is the only one who can release us from the traps of big mistakes. The answer is found in the Bible. No matter what happens, we know that God works for the good of those who love him and have been chosen according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Become More Graceful in Relation to Regret

Even if we know that God has forgiven us, we may still feel regret if we have not forgiven ourselves. Remember that you are justified by your trust in Jesus and what He has done for your life. You are not justified by your own righteousness or thoughts. You are not perfect, and God understands that. If God is not punishing you for something, don’t punish yourself. You are not a better judge than God.

God provides us with the time, wisdom, and resources we need to learn from our mistakes, so that we can grow. Even though David of the Bible did not always make the right choices, like him, we can learn from our mistakes and make a better choice next time.

If we learn from our mistakes, the difficulties we experienced in the past will not have been in vain. We may gain from them. When we assist others in dealing with similar problems, the pain of the past is often outweighed by the benefits of future correct choices. This is especially true when we take the time to do so.

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What To Do

What would you have done differently? Consider how you might assist someone else if confronted with the same predicament. Are there any regrets that you have or may have had? Consider how you might assist someone else in the future with their struggles of regret, and try to walk alongside them as they journey through it.

  • What lesson is God trying to impart to me through this experience?

  • What should I do differently next time?

  • How can I either assist or deter someone else from having a comparable experience?

  • How can I prepare for the future knowing that I could have done things differently in the past?

All things work for God’s good. We may not understand “how” or “why” in the moment of pain, but hope for a brighter future through Christ will lead us out of darkness and into light. In Christ Jesus, a new life is found, and it’s more glorious than anything we could have imagined. 

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How a Man Must Prioritize For A Balanced Life

Table of Contents
  1. The Long, Painful Journey
  2. Grace, Love, And Forgiveness
  3. Become More Graceful in Relation to Regret
  4. What To Do
    1. Related Articles