To Regret, or Not to Regret

Article by Kristin Tanner

We have all heard the familiar saying that goes something like, “I do not regret anything because you have to learn from something.” Many of us have uttered something similar from our own lips. I have never thought about it too much but when I recently read that from someone else I began to ponder on that statement for a while. The following is the result of my pondering.

When we make that statement, in effect we are saying if we regret an action or event then we must not have learned from it. Taking it a step further it suggests that the only way we learn (or the main way we learn) is from our failures. Most of the time our failures equal sin; as Christians then we are really saying that we do not regret sin because of what we learn from it. We are affirming our sin and lessening our sense of responsibility to live holy lives that are pleasing to God. We are saying that we learn more from our sin than we do from living a life of obedience. Yet it is a life of obedience that we are called to. This is the very example that Christ has given us to follow.

Therefore, we should regret. We may learn from our sin and yet not lessen our sense of sorrow over that sin. For example, one of my greatest regrets is losing my virginity before I was married. I learned a lot and received one of my greatest blessings (my son). However, I also experienced great heartache and spent years caught up in a sinful lifestyle that I fully regret. We should find joy in obedience and experience sorrow over our sin.  Learning lessons from both choices but not excusing ourselves from feeling the extent of our sinfulness and experiencing regret over it. Likewise, we can also revel in the joy and blessings that come from a life of obedience.

When obeying God is a chore that we are ‘forced’ to do, it becomes a lifeless act of drudgery and we complain the whole way through. But when we learn who God really is and we base our decisions out of a passionate love for Him, we find joy and delight in obedience.” —Erick and Leslie Ludy, “When God Writes Your Love Story.”

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