There may be mulligans on a golf course but that’s the only place you will find them. Mulligan’s are what some call a golfer’s grace or a do-over. Real life isn’t like that and we’re only dreaming if we think otherwise. In the real world we mess up, we sin and we experience a variety of losses. What we get after these experiences isn’t a mulligan but guilt that turns into regret. Regret handicaps people from all walks of life and paralyzes them with the thoughts of “would have, could have and should have.” Shame, embarrassment and anger are some emotions that are associated with guilt. These emotions can be damaging to a healthy life. God understands this because the Bible is filled with people who lived with regret such as Jonah, Peter, Judas and David. The Bible tells us that King David was a man of God and yet he sinned in a major way. In Psalm 38, King David expressed regret for his sin and his words reveal that he was in deep emotional stress over his sin.
Scriptures – Psalm 32:5; Psalm 38:4-5, 8; Psalm 39:4; Proverbs 22:13; Matthew 7:13-14; John 3:17; Romans 3:22-23; Romans 6:23; Philippians 3:13
Verses – My guilt overwhelms me—it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. Psalm 38:4-5, 8.
Thought – Regrets are inevitable because we have all messed up, made mistakes and sinned. We have all done things to hurt people and, in turn, we have been hurt by others. Regrets are not only inevitable they are forgivable. Not all regrets can be traced back to our sin but many of them can. The good news is that all your regrets, that had their origin in sin, are forgivable. The only path to peace over our regrets is when we say, “I can’t do anything about these chains of regret. God, please take them from me.” When you sincerely pray that, God will take your regrets and begin to break the chains and start the healing process. The Bible is filled with people from Moses in the Old Testament to Paul in the New Testament who had done terrible things with terrible pasts but God still used them to do incredible things for Him. Regret can be a cage and the only way to be released is to give your regrets to Jesus Christ. Do you want to live with freedom or in the cage of regret and condemnation? It seems like an easy choice, but far too many people live in that cage of regret bound by the chains of regret.
Questions – Do you still struggle with regrets over things you did before you became a follower of Christ? What is the biggest regret you have over the last five years? Do your regrets tend to be more about people or material things? What type of loss have you experienced that has produced regret in your life? When is the last time you had a thought that was of the “would have, could have, should have” variety? How would you advise someone to deal with their guilt in regard to their regrets? If you could have one mulligan in life, what would it be?
Response – Embrace four things in your desire to be released from the cage of regret: #1 Start over by seeking forgiveness for your past sin. #2 Receive God’s forgiveness and then look ahead to the future He has for you. #3 Honestly evaluate the current direction of your life and then #4 Move forward and pursue God’s way for you.
Prayer – Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t want to live in the cage of regret any longer. I believe my only path to peace is to humbly ask you to take my regrets from me. I confess the sin I have committed and the regrets that have come from it. Thank you for your mercy and grace and forgiveness. In your wonderful name I pray, Amen.