If you had a “Do-over Machine” that could take you back in time to give you a second shot at moments when you blew it, how many stops would you make? The amount of wear on the Do-over Machine’s brake pads indicates how much regret you are holding. So where would you go and what would you change?
Some might go back and spend more time with their children, others might go back and tell their parents “I love you.” Some may want to go back and act differently to try and save their marriage. Would you like a do-over when you chose your career, chose to stay at your job or chose not to invest in a stock? Many would likely go back and bite their tongue rather than say something that really hurt a loved one. I’ll bet some would travel way back to little league and take a do-over at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the last inning (swing the bat for crying out loud!).
The moment you admit that you would indeed climb into the Do-over Machine, you are validating a Biblical truth recorded in Romans 3:23.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (NIV)
I hear you…. “what are you talking about, ‘sin,’ striking out in little league is not sin! Sin is doing something that breaks God’s law.” Sin is breaking God’s law, but if you stop right there, the definition is incomplete. There are numerous words in the Bible which we translate to our one English word “sin.” They cover all different types of sin: Willfully breaking the law, unknowingly breaking the law, not knowing the law…. there are sins of commission, omission, word, and thought. But I would like to focus on one Greek word that is translated “sin” in our Bibles that is all encompassing, “Hamartia.” Hamartia means “to miss the mark.” It is actually an archery term that indicates how far a shot was from the bull’s-eye (perfection). The archers would shoot at the target and then ask, “what’s my sin?” Translated this means “how far was I from perfection?” Your regrets are a simple admission that you missed the mark of perfection and you wish things had gone differently.
While striking out or failing to invest in a good stock may not be the type of sin that separates us from God, those actually are “Hamartia” sins that cause regret. Take a look at the second half of the sentence which completes the thought above (Romans 3:23).
and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)
Yes, these verses are referring to salvation and the fact that God’s grace justifies (declares righteous) us from sin that separates us from God. But redemption means that we are purchased out of bondage. God redeems us from all of our sins and the Greek word translated “sin” in Romans 3:23 is “hamartano,” a form of missing the mark. God redeems us from these things that haunt us with regret. God takes these things and makes them right. If you failed to enter into a business opportunity that caused everyone to get rich, God may not drop a million dollars in your lap, but perhaps He has something better for you? If you have been redeemed by the work Jesus did on the cross, regret is not necessary. Guilt has been erased and you have been set free from the burden of missing the mark. Below are four ways that can help you get rid of the burdensome feeling:
- Memorize Romans 8:28 and recite it to yourself when you are overwhelmed with feelings of regret: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (NIV)
- Dwell on spiritual victory that you have rather than consequences of past actions in the physical realm. Think about what you do have such as eternal life, relationship with the Lord, love, mercy, and all kinds of blessings.
- Receive the grace that comes with knowing Jesus. You have been declared “not guilty” by God.
- Start every day as a new opportunity to live life to the fullest.
- Ask the Lord to show you ways that He has used the things that you regret for His purposes.