In the moment, it seemed like the right thing to do. At the time, it seemed like I had to do what my friends were doing. At the time, I didn’t realize it would make this much of a difference.
We all have events in our past that we look back and wish we could do over again. Perhaps it was a season of drinking. Perhaps it was a poor choice of relationships. Perhaps it was a pregnancy that happened all too early. Perhaps it was a moment of desperation.
You know what it was for you.
That event or events we look back and regret ever happened.
When our hearts and minds are reoriented toward the Lord, it’s much more clear the sin we committed in the past and the consequences that we perhaps still live in the present.
We wish we could go back in time and change what happened.
But we can’t.
But God can change the present by redeeming the past. What do I mean?
In this week’s message, (Click link above to listen to the whole thing) we connected with Peter and John who were given power to heal a man crippled from birth and then an opportunity to speak to a growing crowd about their spiritual condition. Here’s what Peter said:
Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
But Peter also acknowledges:
17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.
Were they off the hook? No. Ignorance is not bliss or an excuse. It simply means you didn’t fully know what you were doing. (Any of your regrets of the past fit into this category?) What they did was still wrong.
God doesn’t want them to live in a state of regret. He wants them to live in a state of repentance. Repentance is having your mind changed by God’s Spirit to see life and faith from God’s perspective of truth.
Here’s the amazing thing God does. He redeems the past to make it a blessing in our present:
Acts 3:18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer.
God used their ignorance and sin to fulfill what he foretold through all the prophets Jesus would do.
Does that excuse the sin of the past? No, it just reminds us of how gracious God is.
So instead of living in regret, live in repentance. What has God taught you or now enabled you to do for him because of your past sins, ignorance, or bad choices? God will redeem the past as he gives us opportunity to see it now from his perspective and use it as a springboard to serve him in a renewed way in the present.
Apply: Take time to reflect on an event from the past that you regret being part of. What is the lesson God taught you through it and how can what you experienced now be a blessing to you and others?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for redeeming the sin of my past with the blood of Jesus. Thank you also for redeeming my past by allowing it to be part of the blessing of the present. Help me to always live in repentance with a clear understanding of your Word and your ways. AMEN.