I listen to a particular preacher online, and he makes it a point to steer clear of many or any personal examples in his sermons. Rare are the instances where he shares a story from his life of how a verse impacted him or what the Lord may have done or shown him at some particular point in his Christian walk. His intent is for his messages to carry the same validity and have the same basis of application regardless of where and when they are delivered and heard, and re-heard.
Similarly, one of my concerns is that any recounting of a personal incident may be just the thing that interests no one but myself. So, in the case of a topic such as regret or unfinished business, I’m sensitive to the fact that most everyone has experienced this unpleasant reality, and what each has endured is most likely far more impactful than anything I might have been through and decided to share.
Therefore, to elicit a reaction, and hopefully some action as well, let’s go beyond both me and you and consider the biblical account of Jesus asking Peter three times if he loved Him. Even as the three probings by our Lord on the shore immediately take our minds to the three denials of Peter in the courtyard, consider what Peter must have feared would be his albatross as he watched His Savior die on a tree without having the chance to make right his wrong. Ever since Peter tried to defend Jesus in the garden and cut off an official’s ear, things had gone downhill fast. Even the surprise appearances by Jesus to the sequestered disciples evidently had little effect on the psyche and spirit of Peter.
But now, after a miserable night of unsuccessful fishing, seemingly birthed out of the frustration of waiting for God-knows what, Peter gets what his heart has been aching for. Jesus turns all of His attention to him, and releases him from the demons of guilt and remorse that may have haunted his every waking moment. Forgiveness, love, restoration, and purpose all came flooding in to wash away whatever it was that was eating away on the inside of Peter.
And this silent, internal, slow death is what makes regret and unresolved issues so devastating. It is a weight unshared that crushes without anyone else knowing. But it doesn’t have to. All it takes is one step. But you have to take it. As He did with Peter, Jesus has reached out and offered peace. Even when He appeared behind those locked doors, Jesus offered peace. But Peter did not receive it. But on the shore, Peter admitted his need and Jesus was gracious. He always is. He wants to restore you. He wants you whole. You are His child and He loves you infinitely, boundlessly, sacrificially. If you are living with regret, take the step towards peace. You will not regret it.