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Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32

Handling Regret


1.  We all have regrets over some previous attitude, word or action.

2.  Regret (metamelomai): “to care afterwards” (Strong’s), 2 Cor. 7:8.

  “Sorrow or remorse, especially over one’s acts or omissions…sorrow over a person or thing gone, lost, etc.”  (Webster); “a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better” (Cambridge Dictionary).

3.  Regret can be good or bad, depending on how we use it.

4.  Will we be able to say at the end of life, “I have addressed and resolved my regrets?” (2 Tim. 4:7-8)



  A.  What Causes Regret? (sources)

    1.  Our sins, 2 Cor. 7:9-10. cf. David, Psa. 32:3-4; Paul, 1 Tim. 1:12-15.

    2.  Our failures, Matt. 26:75; Lk. 15:17-19.

    3.  Knowing we could have done better, cf. Peter, Matt. 26:33, 35.

      a.  With age: “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.” (Zachary Scott)

      b.  With self-examination (2 Cor. 13:5): “I should have/could have.”

  B.  What Regret Causes. (results)

    1.  Regret causes sorrow, Gen. 6:6 (ESV, NIV); 1 Sam. 15:11.

        -Regrets are expressions of grief, 2 Cor. 7:8; 2:4.

    2.  Regret can immobilize us.

      a.  Keep us from seizing our present opportunities to grow and prosper in Christ, Eph. 5:16; cf. Heb. 6:9-12.

        1)  When we have let God, our loved ones, and ourselves down (Matt. 26:75).

        2)  When we do not measure up to our own expectations.

        3)  When we do not measure up to others’ expectations (real or imagined), 2 Cor. 10:12.

        4)  When unity with brethren is strained.

        5)  When a child falls away, when a marriage fails, when a marriage is in conflict and uncertainty, etc.

      b.  Satan wants you to be immobilized!

    3.  Regret can lead us to despair (Judas, Matt. 27:3-5).

      a.  Suicide illustrates this extreme.

      b.  Jesus died to remove our despair with living hope, Acts 9:9-11.

    4.  Regret can change our conduct, Matt. 21:29.

      a.  Toward sin so that we repent of it, 2 Cor. 7:10.

      b.  Replace regrets with the joy of salvation.

    5.  Regret can prompt us to accept personal responsibility, 2 Cor. 7:11.

      a.  Peter repented (more than once), Lk. 22:32.

      b.  It is important to take personal responsibility for our actions, and yet, not allow regret or fear of future failure prevent correction and improvement, cf. John Mark, Acts 13:13; 15:37; 2 Tim. 4:11.

    6.  Regret can cause us to take on more responsibility than is ours, Gal. 6:1-5; Ezek. 18:4, 10, 13 (17).

      a.  Things for which we are not responsible, Gal. 6:5 (Ezek. 18:4, 10, 13, 17).

      b.  Regret can tempt us to develop a martyr complex (“woe is me”), or to give up (“what’s the use?”).

    7.  Having “no regrets” can become a veil behind which we hide arrogance and self-righteousness, Matt. 21:32.

      a.  Those who say they have “no regrets” usually either have a hard heart, are prideful, and self-righteous (Lk. 18:9).

      b.  Maybe just have no empathy and/or no self-inspection.

      c.  Or, they are “without sin” (Jno. 8:7).


II.  AVOIDING REGRET, Eccl. 9:9-10. (Matt. 6:33-34)

  A.  Live Joyfully, 9:9; Phil. 4:4-6.

  B.  Be Thankful for What God Gives You, 9:9 (1 Thess. 5:18).

  C.  Do Your Own Work Diligently, 9:10; Rom. 12:11. (Jas. 4:17).

  D.  Accept the Inevitable, 9:10; 12:1; Heb. 9:27.



1.  No regrets in heaven, Rev. 21:4. (I can’t explain how that will be, but I believe it will be so.)

2.  Remove your regret of sin by repenting, obeying the gospel, and changing your life to live for Jesus.

3.  Then, press on to your heavenly goal, Phil. 3:13-14.



By: Joe R. Price

Posted July 16, 2019