There is no regret in the kingdom of God, but that doesn’t mean we don’t struggle mightily with it. I imagine David after the prophet, Nathan, informs him that his son from Bathsheba will die because of his sins of murder and adultery. His chief regret, I assume, is that the consequences of his actions have affected more than just himself. I cannot imagine David’s horror as he watches his son die, knowing that his sin caused it. But after the child passes, David leaves his grief and goes to resume his duties on behalf of Israel. To the heart of some, this may seem callous, but David’s own words explain his reasoning. He says in 2 Samual 12: 12-13,” “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
David seems able to release his regret to a degree than many of us cannot. And regret is complicated, involving as it does a desire to punish oneself, grieve over what is lost, and then living daily with the consequences of one’s actions. I think David gives us a blueprint, however, in how to go on after we have turned our own lives into rubble.
A Pattern for Release
- Have a mentor. Nathan served David by calling him out on his sin. Do you have people in your life that are close enough to you to let you know when you have stepped outside of what is right? Secrecy keeps us in bondage to our mistakes, but having at least one person who can confront us in love and truth keeps us from lying to ourselves and others. While it seems counterintuitive, secrecy feeds shame while exposure to trusted confidantes dispels it.
- Confess your mistakes. David fully confessed his sin. He gave himself no excuses. You cannot clean your house if you refuse to acknowledge that it is dirty. Yes, confession can be terrifying. So terrifying even David avoided it as long as he could. But confession is the bridge to freedom.
- Try to repair what you can. While his son was alive, David fasted and prayed to change the mind of God. He did not throw up his hands in defeat. He fought for the life of his son. Don’t turn away from the damages. Try your hardest to mitigate them. You might be surprised at how healing that is for you and for those whom you have injured.
- Don’t exaggerate the situation. The loss of a child is devastating. In no way am I suggesting that even David got over the situation easily. Bathsheba clearly felt it because David spends time comforting her. However, David recognizes concretely that he will see his son again. He has hope. Many times we look at a particular situation and leap to the conclusion that it is hopeless. Your mistakes are not unforgivable. God’s willingness and ability to heal far outweighs your sin. The people you hurt can heal, if they choose to do so.
- Move on in relationship. David comforts Bathsheba and together they have another son. No, this son does not replace the one who died, but each baby is his or her own new life to be celebrated. Turn your regret into the inspiration to move forward with more love, more wisdom, and more intention.
There is no regret in the kingdom of God
When I started this blog, I felt the Lord say, There is no regret in my kingdom. I recall Jesus walking among the people, telling them, The kingdom is in your midst. Every day I ask myself in which kingdom am I living today? Am I walking in the light? Am I living where God makes everything new? Or is my ear only attuned to the accuser of the brethren? To free yourself from regret is to take a leap of faith. It is to jump out of the temporal and into the eternal, where the Lover of your soul has already begun a work of redemption in your life and in the lives of those around you.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galations 5:1