Everybody makes mistakes. We have all done somethings that we are ashamed of. The key question is, how do we respond to the negative emotions that follow a screw-up?
Step 1 – Regret
Regret is basically the knee-jerk reaction to a mistake. It is wishing that it never happened, or at least that it happened differently. It is the feeling you get when your running late and you take a shortcut, only for there to be contraction on the road. We all recognize regret, because we say things like, “I knew I shoulda …” While regret is an essential step to correcting a mistake, we can’t just stop there, because the reaction isn’t strong enough to prevent the same thing from happening again.
Step 2 – Remorse
Remorse is seated deeper in our emotions. It is the negative emotional response that hates that a mistake happened. This is a strong response, but can present a major problem when we can’t move past it. Many of us will dwell at this step, which can easily turn into depression or bitterness. If we linger too long at remorse, the outcome is usually more devastating than the mistake. Being sorry is good, but it is not the end.
Step 3 – Repent
This is the essential step in correcting a mistake and moving on. Simply put, repentance is turning away, or changing the mind. In light of sin, we have to repent and see the sin (or mistake) the way God does. So then, ultimately, repentance is a resolve.
If we don’t repent we end up on the crazy cycle of messing up, regret it, remorse over it, and repeat. Godly repentance is inviting the powers of the supernatural to move the sinner past the place of regret and remorse.
As you reflect on past mistakes let God minister to you as well as challenge you to see your mistakes as He does. Find the strength that only He can give to turn around and make your ways straight. Otherwise, your going nowhere fast, riding that crazy cycle.
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