Breaking the Hell of Regret


What’s an area of your life where you have regret?

I spoke with Dan this morning. He’d binged on gay porn this week, which he has a pattern of doing about once every six months or so. “I’m just so tired of winding up here again and again,” he said.

Samantha has her own regret. “I promised myself I’d stop seeing this guy four months ago. He treats me great when we’re together, but I know he’s sleeping around. Why am I still in this relationship?”

Hal lives with the pain of watching his kids grow up with his ex-wife and their step-dad. “I was too blind to see how selfish I was being when I walked out on her,” he says. Now he does his best to stay connected, but it’s not the same.

What is it for you? Maybe it’s something smaller like eating a bit too much, watching a scene you can’t get out of your head, sending a rash email, or missing your kid’s game.

Maybe it’s something heavier like abortion, adultery, or committing a crime.

Large or small, regret can be a killer.

Until it’s not.

Rescue comes as we invite Jesus into our regrets. Our losses are real, but Jesus seeks and saves that which is lost (Luke 19:10). God, who is outside of time, can enter our pasts, working backward to restore what we’ve lost (see Joel 2:25-27).

Where regret plants itself in the ruins of what could have been, Jesus enters into the ashes and raises up to life something new.

I think here immediately of the Apostles’ Creed where we say that Jesus “descended to the dead” or in some versions of the Creed, “He descended into hell.”

Hell and death are a place of continual, eternal regret. But Jesus, in HIs power, has descended into our hell to lead us out in His resurrection power. The very real hope of resurrection—that hope that doesn’t disappoint us (Romans 5:5)—is that Jesus, who was once dead but who is now very much alive, can lead us up from death and into something new and even better than what was lost.

“How could anything be better than what I lost?” you ask. I don’t know, but neither can you if you remain entombed by regret. Dare to loosen your grip on the past, cease wishing away your poor choices, stop beating yourself up, and rest from replaying where you went wrong.

Instead, let Jesus into the mess you made. Whether it was yesterday or decades ago, see Him there just as you left things—no excuses, no pre-cleaning, no justifications. Let Him meet you also across the miles of fallout and debris.

What I’m talking about here is called the healing of memories, wherein prayer, Jesus resurrection actually makes all things new. Somehow. Some way.

Healing of memories is not about turning back the clock or undoing what’s been done. Dan really did binge on porn again. Samantha really has spent months with a guy who doesn’t love her. Hal’s kids really are growing up apart from him.

But where regret plants itself in the ruins of what could have been, Jesus enters into the ashes and raises up to life something new.

Question: What’s one area of your life where you experienced loss, failure, sin, or death that now you see resurrection—new life better than before?

If we can walk with you, we’d be honored.

With hope,

P.S. Hey, if you haven’t checked out this week’s podcast on sex and self-worth, check it out. We think you’ll find it really helpful!

Thanks For Reading.

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1 comment

  • Definitely in my marriage. We went through the worst of the worst, but on the flip side we have grown both individually & together more so than ever before. It’s miraculous how loss, failure & sin have transformed us. It has been only through God’s forgiveness & wisdom this has happened.

By Josh Glaser

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