No More Regret

Matthew 27 : 3When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.

The title peaked my interest: “A Professional Athlete’s One Regret” (http://zgirls.org/news/pro-athletes-one-regret/.  I have met few people with no regrets, and certainly not many athletes without at least some regrets as they look back on their athletic careers.  In this case, the article was written by Libby Lublow, a member of the U.S. Women’s Downhill Ski team.  Her teammate was superstar Lindsay Vonn.

Lublow spoke to a group of girls at the Lindsay Vonn Foundation Summer Camp for Girls.  Speaking on the topic of regret, Lublow shared her regret of being so hard on herself.  As she was speaking, Lindsay Vonn walked in and Lublow asked Vonn if she remembers her being so hard on herself.  Vonn exclaimed: “Oh my god, she was SO bad!”.  Lublow was taken aback by Vonn’s emphatic response.  Lublow realized that her self-bashing had been even worse than she remembered, thus heightening the regret.  However, Lublow also realized that eight years after retirement, she had learned the secret of “self-compassion”, of giving herself a break.  Lublow’s  regret had not become debilitating, but instead she learned from it.

There are two contrasting stories of regret in the Bible: the story of Judas Iscariot and that of the Apostle Peter.  In the case of the former, Judas is the infamous betrayer of Jesus.  For thirty silver coins Judas betrayed the Son of God.  When he received his payment and saw that Jesus had been condemned, we read that Judas: “was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” (Matthew 27:3b).  Next we read that: “Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27: 5).  Judas was so filled with regret, that he ended his life.

Taking place at about the same time, we read of the Apostle Peter denying Jesus before the crucifixion.  First Peter confidently says: “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:33).  Yet that very night Peter denied Jesus three separate times. (Matthew 26: 69-74).  “Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Matthew 25:75).  Much like Judas, Peter betrayed the Son of God and his regret is evident; we read that he “wept bitterly”.  But here is where the story of Judas and Peter diverge.  Judas immediately went and ended his life.  In contrast, Peter returned to his former way of life, fishing. When Jesus reappeared in John 21 and the disciples recognized him, Peter jumped out of the boat and rushed to him.  John 21:15-19 is the wonderful story of Jesus reinstating Peter as he re-affirms his love for Jesus.

2 Corinthians 7:10 says: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  The stories of Peter and Judas are vivid examples of the difference between “Godly sorrow” and “worldly sorrow”.  If you have regret in your life, those feelings can be beneficial if they lead to repentance.  And when they do, you must understand that God forgives you of your sins, and it is His desire that you now move forward to again serve Him.  That is Godly sorrow. Do not live in that place of regret, but rather repent quickly and move forward once again in a place of communion with Him.

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