Regret vs Godly Sorrow

With the death of my best friend this week, I was reminded of this blog I wrote  several years ago. I hope this helps my friends and family in the coming days…

2 Corinthians 7:10 (The Message) says; “Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those whoet distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.”
I was driving to church yesterday and stopped at our local donut shop to grab some breakfast. As I ate my sausage roll, my mind went back to the times when my kids were younger and I would stop at the donut shop on the way to church. There was always an excitement in their eyes as they grabbed their bottle of chocolate milk and surveyed all the choices of sugary wonderfulness, trying to pick that one perfect donut. 

All of a sudden I was filled with regret. Regret about never being able to take my youngest son Noah to the donut shop again. Regret that maybe I hadn’t spent enough time with him in these little things like trips to the donut shop. I must say, even now as I type this, there is some regret welling up inside of me.

As I thought about those regrets, the Holy Spirit prompted me to think about the difference between regret and Godly sorrow. It was as if the Father was telling me there is a difference and how I need Godly sorrow and not regrets. 

The word regret means: a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc. “Remorse for a fault.” The regret I was feeling brought condemnation to my heart, not Godly sorrow for the loss of my son, but guilt like I hadn’t done enough, or loved him enough.

It was then I saw it; this regret wasn’t doing anything for me but bringing me down, making me feel guilty…and I know where those thoughts come from. I am sorry for the loss of my son, and I do wish I could have him here with me, but feeling regret for the past is not heart healthy for me, or anyone else for that matter. I have to have Godly sorrow because this will lead me back to God. Because it’s when I run to God in my distress I find the grace I need to continue walking forward, one step at a time.

With the holiday season upon us, and everyone gearing up with the thoughts of spending time with family, it is not by chance the Lord wanted me to understand the difference between regret and Godly sorrow. He is reminding me when the regrets come, I need to run to Him with those to find the peace He has for me in the midst of any emotional storms.

I will miss Noah’s laugh, and presence during this holiday season, but I know this…God is for me, and He has my family’s best interests at heart. And even more as the holiday season comes and goes, I’ll be thankful my Heavenly Father is here leading, guiding and directing my family’s steps each and every day. And we will let any distress or regret drive us back into the arms of our loving Father God, of that you can rest assured.


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