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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Say Goodbye to Regrets About Regrets

Robert Jeffress - Say Goodbye to Regrets About Regrets

Robert Jeffress - Say Goodbye to Regrets About Regrets
TOPICS: Say Goodbye To Regret, Regrets

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Living with regret is futile and exhausting. Regret drains us of energy and steals our hope at the same time. Well, God has a much better plan, one that involves redeeming the future rather than lamenting the past. Today, I'm going to describe how you can make your regrets work for you, not against you. My message is titled: "Say Goodbye to Regrets About Regrets" on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".

Today, we've come to the final message in our series "Say Goodbye to Regrets," and over these last weeks, we've seen that regrets in life over mistakes, they can't be erased. You get no do-overs in life. Have you discovered that? However, you can allow your regrets to help you avoid future regrets in every area of life. But throughout the series, you may have been wondering, well what do I actually do about those regrets that have accumulated from my marriage or from my finances or my career? What do I do with those regrets? One of my daughters said, "Do you just say goodbye to them? There has to be something more to it". Well, there is, and that's why I saved today's message for the very last one. Today we're going to discover what the Bible says about how to Say Goodbye to Regrets About Regrets.

If you're going to make your regrets work for you instead of against you, if you want them to be your slaves rather than your master that paralyzes your life, there're four biblical insights about regrets that I wanna leave you with this morning, and I want you to write them down and remember them. First of all, regrets are inevitable. They are inevitable. Just accept the fact that somewhere along the line, you're going to make a colossal mistake that will forever change your children or your marriage or your career or your health or your finances, or some other important area of life. Regrets are inevitable. You know why you are prone to make mistakes? It's very simple. You are one giant clod. Did you know that? That's what the Bible says. Well, uses a different phrase: you're one giant lump of clay. That's what the Bible refers to us as.

In Genesis 2:7 in the account of the formation of the first man and woman, Moses writes, "Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a human being". That word "Formed" in Hebrew refers to a potter that takes a wet lump of clay, places it on a spinning wheel, and forms it, shapes it into what he wants. That's what you and I are. We're clay. We're a collection of dust and chemicals. To be more specific, you are 58 pounds of oxygen, 50 quarts of water, 3 pounds of calcium, 2 ounces of salt, and 6 pounds of oreo cookies all formed together to make you who you are. Now of course, you're a lot more than that. You're a lot more than that, but you're still encased, your spirit is still encased in a body that is dust.

Now, somebody says, "Well, that doesn't do a lot for my self-image, to think of myself as a clod, as a lump of clay". Well, the purpose of the Bible isn't to make you feel better about yourself necessarily. It's to teach us how we really are. But here's the good thing: now only should we not be surprised by our mistakes, because we are that lump of dust or clay. The good news is, God's not surprised either by your mistakes. I love Psalm 103:14 that we read just a few moments ago: "For he himself knows our frame: he is mindful that we are but dust". Doesn't that give you comfort, to know that God understands us as we are? We are but dust.

Dr. Bob Pitman was here a few weeks ago to speak to our prayer partners and their spouses, and he said, "You know, we all have dust in our homes and we're trying to clean it all up". He said, "Do you know where most of that dust comes from? Dead skin cells that come from you, that's the source of the dust". So, the next time you get out your lemon pledge to wipe up the dust, just remember what you're wiping up is yourself. You might wanna let the dust accumulate on that coffee table for six months. You could be havin' a conversation with yourself in six months. Now, that's a little bit extreme, I know, but don't miss the point. We inhabit bodies that are weak, and because we have bodies that are weak and have been infected with sin, that translates into poor choices, frequent mistakes, and inevitable regrets. Regrets are inevitable. You're going to have them.

Just mark that down and remember it. But secondly, regrets are also forgivable. I don't want you to misunderstand what I just said about the inevitability of regrets. You can't get away with God by saying, "Oh, I'm only human. I can't do any better than that". No, sin, which is another way of saying mistakes, sins have to be dealt with. God is a holy God. He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. God is a God of justice. He has to deal with sin. Nahum in the Old Testament, chapter 1, verse 3, says God cannot simply overlook our transgressions. He has to deal with them. But in the same passage that deals with God's kindness toward us is the way that God deals with us.

Look at Psalm 103, verses 10 to 12: "For God has not dealt with us according to our sins. Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God's loving kindness toward those who fear him". You see, a holy God has to deal with sin. Our sin is deserving of the wrath of God, but when you trust in Jesus as your Savior, it's not that God forgets about your sins or plays like they never happened. He has to deal with your sin. So what does he do? He separates you and me from our sin and he takes our sin and, praise God, Colossians 2:14 says, "He nails our sin to the cross of Jesus Christ, and he declares that it is paid in full".

That's how God deals with us. He separates our sin from us and nails it to the cross of Christ. That means that we are forgiven of our sins. Today when we think of people, we can't separate people from their sins. If there is somebody who's wronged you, every time you see that person, that's what you think about is how they have wronged you. If you think about famous characters in history, I won't name them, but if they'd had a major public sin, that's what you remember about them. We can't separate people from their sins. But thank God, he separates us from our sins. He takes our sins, separates us from them, and nails it to the cross of Jesus Christ.

And I love this verse in verse 12: how far has God separated us from our sin? "As far as the east is from the west. So far has he removed our transgressions from us". Do you remember in our series "Invincible," I explained there's a reason God doesn't say "As far as the north is from the south, so far has he removed our sins". You know why he doesn't use that? Because there are poles associated with the north and the south. There is a limited distance between north and south. Let me illustrate that for you. If you get in your car this afternoon and start driving north, you'll go through Oklahoma, you'll go through Minnesota, you'll go through Canada, you keep going north and north and north until you meet Santa Claus at the north pole.

And an interesting thing happens. When you hit the north pole, you're still going in the same direction, but now you're going south. North has become south because of the north and south poles. But, if you're traveling from east to west, there's an infinite distance you go without ever changing directions. If you start traveling west from Dallas, you'll go to El Paso, you'll go to Arizona, you'll go to California, you're still going west, you'll go to Hawaii, you'll go to Japan, you'll go to China, you'd keep going west and west and west. It doesn't matter how long you go, there is never a moment when you start going east again. You go from west on and on and on and on.

How far has God removed that terrible mistake we're so embarrassed about? He hasn't moved it just from the north to the south. He has moved it from the east to the west, and he remembers our sin no longer. Praise God for a God who does that with our sin. That is why I say yes, regrets are inevitable, but they are forgivable. He has not dealt with us according to our sins. There's a third truth about regrets. Not only are they inevitable, not only are they forgivable, but thirdly, regrets can be instructional. They can be instructional.

Authors Arthur Freeman and rose dewolf had painted a vivid word picture to describe the potential benefits of results. Listen to this: "Somewhere inside of all of us, there is a hall of memories where we keep the people, places, and events of our past. These memories may be bittersweet. These memories may be instructive. These memories may be painful. You come away from visiting the hall of memories refreshed, warmed, and warned, ready to deal again with the future. Maybe even able to warn others not to repeat your mistakes. The key to progress in life is returning to the present. The hall of memories becomes a fascinating place to visit, no longer a place in which to live or even to linger".

These memories, these bad memories of mistakes from the past need to be remembered but not dwelt upon. And if we remember them in the right way, though they can never be erased, they can be instructional for the future. That's the potential benefit of a regret. It can't change our past, but it can change our future. I don't know how better to illustrate the potential benefit of mistakes from the past than from a personal illustration from my own life.

When I was pastoring my last church, over those 15 years there came different opportunities to go to other churches, larger churches, in one case to become a president of a seminary, and I remember one of those times I was dealing with a potential move and change, and our girls were little at the time and Julia was nine years old, and I remember one night after she had gone to bed, I noticed that a light in her closet was still on. So I walked into that closet to turn the light out, and I noticed at the back of the closet andy had made a collage of Julia's first nine years of living, a picture from each year. And I looked down at 1989 when she was a year old and I thought about the year 1989.

I remembered when that picture was taken, but I thought, "What else do I remember from 1989"? And I could think of one or maybe two things that happened out of those 365 days, and I thought, "What happened to that year"? I looked at 1991. Where did that go? 1994. And suddenly I was filled with regrets over times I had missed spending with my two daughters in order to take care of real or imaginary responsibilities I had. And feeling that pain, I thought to myself, "Now, if I say yes to this opportunity, what are the chances that one day in the future I'll be looking at the collage saying, 'what happened to 1999? What happened to 2002 or 2004'"? And I allowed that pain that I was feeling from the past to lead me to the conclusion to say NO to this opportunity.

That's the value of regrets. You can't erase them, but you can avoid future mistakes. The writer of Proverbs says it this way in Proverbs 15:31 through 32, "He whose ear listens to the lifegiving reproof will dwell among the wise. But he who neglects discipline despises himself. But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding". Remember in Proverbs, the word "Reproof" and "Discipline", these mean negative circumstances we experience because of wrong choices we've made. A reproof or discipline is something negative that happens to us when we make a wrong choice, and what the writer of Proverbs is saying, we need to learn from those wrong choices so we don't repeat them.

Somebody once said, "The worst thing about the school of hard knocks is that the tuition is very high. And the only thing worse than paying that tuition bill once is having to pay it again and again and again". Only the fool refuses to learn from his past mistakes. Regrets are inevitable. They are forgivable. They can be instructional. And finally, regrets are providential. They are providential. In my book, "The road most traveled," I give this definition of contentment: contentment means being at peace with the unchangeable choices, circumstances, and mistakes of my life. The only way you can be at peace with these mistakes you've made is when you understand and trust in the sovereignty of God. What does the sovereignty of God mean? It means God is in control. He is in control of everything that happens in this universe, and everything that happens in your life and my life.

Somebody said it this way when it comes to mistakes: God not only watches over our steps, he watches over our missteps and our stumbles. Now, when we get into Ephesians in a few weeks, we're gonna deal with the subject of predestination and election and sovereignty. But I wanna be real clear when I say this: God never wills for us to sin. That's not what I'm saying. God is not the author of sin. When I say, "Trusting in the sovereignty of God over our mistakes," what I'm saying is God is so powerful, he's so good, he's so loving, that he can take the worst mistakes we make, the worst sins we commit, and he can use them for our good and for his glory. God can cause all things to work together for good to those who love him and those who are called according to his purpose.

You know, the best example to me in scripture of that is the story of Moses. Remember, Moses spent the first 40 years of his life in Pharaoh's palace. He was the son, in many ways of Pharaoh, and when he was 40 years of age, he made one momentary bad choice that forever changed his life. In the heat of anger, he killed that Egyptian soldier, and immediately he became a fugitive. He started running from Pharaoh, and because of that one mistake, he spent the next 40 years on the backside of the desert. Can you imagine the number of times he must have kicked himself saying, "If only I hadn't killed that soldier. If only I hadn't allowed by anger to get the best of me, I'd be back in the palace instead of out here in Nowheresville".

But God used those 40 years in the desert to prepare Moses, to teach him invaluable lessons he never would've learned in Pharaoh's court. Lessons that prepared him at age 80 to be called by God to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. You will never be at peace with the regrets from your past until you believe in a God who can do the same thing for you. Instead of letting these regrets paralyze you, let them be instructional and prepare you for the future. The Roman statesman Cicero said, "Let us not go over the same ground again, but let us prepare for what is yet to come". I love what the apostle Paul says even more in Philippians 3. Remember his words? "This one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus". Great words to remember for those who are intent on saying goodbye to regrets.
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