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Dealing with Regret

01.26.20 Nathaniel Wall

  1. The Message of Hope in Revelation
    02.09.20 43m 00s
  2. How to Be Filled With the Spirit
    02.02.20 41m 34s
  3. Dealing with Regret
    01.26.20 36m 50s
  4. Egypt, the Jordan River and Forty Days
    01.12.20 39m 56s
  5. Prophets and Beautiful Feet
    01.05.20 38m 23s
  6. Kingdoms
    12.29.19 46m 51s
  7. Joseph and Walls of Jericho
    12.22.19 45m 11s
  8. How to Be Faithful in Adversity
    12.15.19 42m 06s
  9. Finding Your Spirit Filled With God
    12.08.19 42m 08s
  10. From Law to Freedom
    12.01.19 36m 48s
  11. The Passover Lamb
    11.24.19 42m 26s
  12. A Defining Moment
    11.17.19 44m 06s
  13. Hope Over Despair
    11.10.19 33m 05s
  14. Christian’s Called to Sacrifice
    11.03.19 33m 26s
  15. The Tower of Babel
    10.20.19 38m 53s
  16. Noah and the Flood
    10.13.19 40m 37s
  17. Beautifully Broken
    10.06.19 39m 47s
  18. The Beginning …
    09.29.19 35m 15s
  19. Rosh Hashanah Like a Lion
    09.22.19 37m 14s

Dealing with Regret

01.26.20 Nathaniel Wall Kingdom Come Series

John chapter 21. I want to set the background of this. On the series we’ve been together, we’ve been looking at the theme of scripture, so when we pick up the Bible, we get this broad picture of what God’s trying to communicate to us. If you read scripture and you see the individual stories, it is important to tie the individual stories to the grand theme of what God’s communicating to us. He is a King. He has built His kingdom. Man has sinned and in rebellion. In that rebellion, God can bring his wrath and judgment, but God has offered us His grace. That’s why Jesus has come. God’s plan of redemption. God’s come for you to give his life to you, to die in your place so that you don’t face death and judgment before the Lord. Rather, you find grace, forgiveness and renewal. God can make all things new in your life.

The story of the Bible, if I brought it down into one word, it would be redemption. This King and His kingdom delivering it to you. So we’ve seen how this is tied together in the Old Testament bringing into the New Testament. And last time I spoke two weeks ago, we talked about the beginning of these gospels and tying this picture together. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.` Why we have four gospels and yada yada. If you don’t know the answer to why we have four gospels and some other questions related to the gospels, I would tell you listen to the message a couple of weeks ago.

But today this is what I want to do. I love John 21 I am so thankful for where it is in the Bible and how God has positioned at here and what he teaches us through it. John 21 addresses for us the human experience as it relates to living life for the Lord. It is not always easy. We have battles and we aren’t perfect. When you read the gospels, what you see is as Jesus lived his life, it was brilliant. It was beautiful. He was a leader, he was humble, he was firm, he was loving and he was bold. How can he mix all of that together? How can he lead with such confidence yet with such gentleness? It is incredible.

And then you get to the disciples. And on some days, at best, maybe the best description you could give them is a train wreck in motion. If we could ever have a do over, today would be the day for these disciples. They were trying, but it didn’t always work out.

And when you get to the end of the gospels, you really see this happening. At the end of the gospels, it starts to lay out for us this picture that is difficult emotionally, spiritually, every capacity of the human being to deal with. And I’m just going to give you a synopsis. I don’t want to dive into these verses. I just want to give you a synopsis so that you can go on this journey with me as I’m explaining to you the importance of John 21. Because everything leading into this is exactly why we have John 21. I’m going to use it from the gospel of Luke just to set a precedent because Luke is a little more detailed before I leap into John 21 but if you look at the end of Luke, what you find starting in John 19 is Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

This is his last moments on earth. He’s on the back of a donkey going into the city and they’re all shouting, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Basically saying, “take your kingdom now, King.” Giving this kind of declaration. But while this is happening, the religious leaders it tells us in Luke 19 looked at Jesus and tell Jesus to silence the crowd. And Jesus basically says, I’m not going to do that. He goes a little further and says, if I did, even the rocks would cry out in this moment. But shortly after this time where Jesus is getting the celebration, Jesus knows it’s short lived. That the genuineness of people’s hearts really aren’t there. That they’re not praising him for who he is. They’re praising them because of what they get from him. He’s sort of like this walking magic show that every once in a while if they get hungry, he’ll just pop out five loaves and feed the whole crowd.

And Jesus knows this. And in Luke 19:41 he weeps over Jerusalem because the people have rejected him. Verse 45 he goes to the temple and he drives out the money changers. This is where Jesus wreaks havoc on the temple. And you see crazy Jesus in these moments driving out people in the temple. I could explain to you why, but I don’t have time for that. So if you want to know, you can ask me later. I’ve taught on a few times, but Jesus drives out people. In verse 47 the religious leaders want to kill him. And then when you get to chapter 20 this is where the religious leaders come to Jesus and they pose questions to them because they’re trying to trick him and trap him. And Jesus answers these questions masterfully. And they get to the end of that and they realize they can’t trap Jesus in the questions.

And after Jesus answers these questions, he turns and looks at the crowd and very loudly, he warns them of the danger of the religious leaders. And so you sort of see this tension building. Jesus goes in, religious leaders, they stop. Jesus says no, they’re like, we’re gonna, we want to kill you. And then they decide they’re gonna try to embarrass them. They can embarrass him. And Jesus instead turns the crowd and points to the danger of the religious leaders. And now they really want to kill Jesus. And the disciples see this tension build. And as if to kind of downplay this moment, they just sort of turn back. And this morning we’re like, yeah, that was kind of a weird day, Jesus. But look at the temple. Isn’t the temple great? And Jesus is like, yeah, it’s all going to be destroyed too. It’s kind of like a pandemonium moment. This is chaotic.

Jesus, in Luke 21:20 says, the temple is going to be destroyed. And then the religious leaders in Luke 22:2 they not just want to kill him, actually plot to kill him. And in that same chapter, this is where Jesus tells his disciples he’s going to die. And Peter takes this bold statement and says to Jesus, “Jesus, you’re not going to die and I would even give my life for you.” And then Jesus tells him in verse 34 he says to him, Peter, before the night’s done, you’re going to deny me three times. When you get to this point of Luke, Jesus is with his disciples in the upper room spending his final hours, his last six hours on earth. And he takes them to the garden. And all that they had gone through.

They see the religious leaders building against Jesus. They likely know that these guys want to kill him. If not have created a plot to kill him. And they’re in this city where the tension is just enormous. And thinking, why are we even here? We need to be hiding right now. Difficult moments for them. And now their leader just told them, I’m going to die. He goes to the garden and he’s praying in anguish. And you really, in this moment, see how this has taken a toll on the disciples. It tells us in Luke 22:45, when Jesus rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow He said to them. Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.

Right after this moment. Jesus has taken and he’s carried off into this night trial that’s illegal in this day and time. But he’s run through this trial and Peter actually goes up to this trial that’s taking place and he sort of watches from the outskirts, this interaction that they’re having with Jesus. And then Peter ultimately does exactly what Jesus said he would do in verse 60. Peter’s approach and he denies Jesus and then he denies Jesus again. And finally the third time they ask him, don’t you know this man? And Peter said, man, I do not know what you’re talking about. Immediately while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed and the Lord turned and looked at Peter and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had told him before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times. And Peter went out and wept bitterly.

You see how Peter got here, right? He had these moments that build that just wear on the soul. Your leader is telling him that he’s going to die. You follow this leader for years. You think this leader is going to set up the Kingdom. Everything that you anticipate, all the hope that you’ve put towards over all these last few years and spending life with Jesus and walking with him and giving up the fishing and going out and just being a follower of Christ. And all of a sudden you feel like your world is coming crashing down. In those moments of sorrow, depression, sometimes it happens where our decision making isn’t always the strongest. In fact, we could say it’s most likely the weakest moments in our lives. What we find with Peter’s that Peter messed up.

Inevitably, when you serve the Lord, at some point you will mess up. What do you do? How could God use you? How could you come back from that? When you think about this moment, Peter, he denies Jesus and Jesus said he was going to do it before he even did it. And when he does it, Jesus even hears him do it and he looked straight at Peter right after Peter denies Him. Can you imagine how gut churning that was for Peter? And his response is immediately is to turn face and to run away and just weep bitterly in his failure. How do you come back from that?

I think our English language we have a vocabulary word for that. We call it regret, right? Regret is when you look back with remorse at something for either a foolish choice or a lack of making a choice or something that’s done. I think one regret is one of the most difficult emotions for us to handle as people. And you only have to have regret because as necessarily something that you did sinful, but we all deal with it in some capacity. And I think one of the reasons it’s such a difficult human emotion to handle is because we’re often used to handling things on our own.

It’s up to me. I’ve got this. You just pull up the bootstraps and you move forward. But when it comes to regret, what we’re acknowledging is that something out of our control, Peter messed up and he can’t undo what’s been done. And because now it’s out of his power. He carries this emotion of regret towards Jesus in this moment now what does he do?

You know how those times play in your mind. If I’d only known how much they hurt, I would have done more. If I had known it was my last time to be with them or how it was going to go, I would’ve done things different. If I could only go back and undo it, I would. In those moments of regret, what you do here, the message spoken into your heart in that moment is critical. And I would encourage us as we think about those times that we’ve gone through, maybe we even hold onto moments of regret right now or we’re going to encounter. I would encourage you to let the Lord speak that message into your life rather than yourself. Because what we acknowledge and regret is it’s really something beyond our control. You can’t undo what’s been done.

And when you look at the end of the gospel story, is really what you see are two examples of how to deal with it. One example leads to death and the other one there is health, there is life, there is hope. When I talk about two examples, what I mean is there’s Judas and there’s Peter.

You see at the end of Jesus’s life is there are two people that deny Jesus. Two people that turn backs on the scripture, makes plainly clear and how they behave. One is Judas and one is Peter. Judas in his remorse we find in the Bible, Matthew 27:33-35, that his regret led him to such an unhealthy place that it brought death. Judas ultimately went out and hung himself. Now, I’m not trying to give this blanket statement about suicide. I would never do that. But I think there is a degree that we carry such remorse that even if it physically doesn’t lead us to death spiritually it will. And ultimately that’s where it always ends up.

Regret in your own strength produces death. It destroys the soul. But there is another way that that leads to life. And this is what this passage in John 21 is all about. So you turn to this chapter and you begin in John chapter 21 you’d asked the question, okay, then we see what Judas did and it ultimately led to death. And living a life captivated in regret. That’s what it produces. A regret is all about looking at the past and in remorse. Wishing you can change it, having no power to do something. And I think it’s important to know that is how Satan operates.

Satan is all about the past. Jesus is all about your present and your future. Jesus doesn’t so much care about where you’ve been as to where you are going. Satan, it tells us in Revelation 21, he is the accuser of the brethren, which means he likes to take your past and throw it in your future so you stay stuck there.

And in John 21, we come to this chapter and I am so glad that John included this in scripture. Because you think about, you read the other gospels and you see the way Jesus and Peter have interacted the end of his life that Peter denied Jesus. And the question in everybody’s mind is, well, what happened in this relationship? Like where is Peter in all of this? And how are we to view this? And how can we have hope if Peter who becomes the leader denies Jesus? What hope do I have right?

And John 21 faces it. So what does Peter do? Um, verse three, ready for this profound thought. Simon Peter said to them, I’m going fishing. So what I say to you this morning is take a vacation. What Peter is doing in this moment is honestly he’s doing nothing. Theologians look at this section of scripture and they try to make this a black and white one where they’re like, okay, Peter’s going fishing. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? If you ever read commentaries on this, this is what they try to weigh in on this verse. And I really just think it’s this. It’s nothing. I don’t think Peter knows what to do.

And so what he does is he just goes back to what he’s familiar with until he figures out what he can do because the guy’s got to eat. This is what I did before. This is where I made money. Until I figured out what the next step is, I need to be doing something. And so I’m just going to continue in this pattern of which I trusted in before I knew Jesus, which was fishing. And so Peter said to the disciples, “I’m going fishing.” And they, the disciples said to him, we will also come with you. They went out and got into the boat and that night they caught nothing.

Now why does that matter? Well, I’ll tell you why it matters. It’s because in life, so many times you take gut punches and you think to yourself, I can’t take one more, not even a little. And he’s just saying, and here comes a little one. They went all night long fishing and they came and they can’t even catch a fish. These guys aren’t good to anything right now. You felt like that? What do you do?

I think the better question is what does Jesus do? Because we’ve been honest with the fact of regret. Really, we don’t have the ability within ourselves to change things that have been done. So what does Jesus do? Verse verse four tells us. When the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you don’t have any fish, do you?” The answered him no. And he said to them, cast the net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find a catch. So they cast and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore, the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, it’s the Lord. And so when Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on for, he was stripped for work and threw himself into the sea.

I don’t know if we should tell Peter this, but he got it backwards. You don’t put your clothes on to then jump in the water. You carry your clothes until you get out of the water, so your clothes aren’t wet, right? It’s like he’s still not thinking straight here. Peter, he puts his clothes on, he jumps in the water and he goes and sees Jesus. And what you begin to see in this moment is this beautiful story of how God meets us in our brokenness and our failures and our regrets. I mean, could you imagine this, what this was like? You walk with regrets, right? “If I’d only known I would’ve done it different. If I’d only knew it was the last time I would have said something else. If I could go back, I would’ve done it differently.”

And Peter, no doubt in these moments of his life, he walked around with regret saying, “If I could’ve just relived that moment, that night, one more time, I would’ve died with Jesus. Or if I could just tell Him, I’m sorry.” And what you see in this moment is everything bad is coming, untrue. Everything bad coming untrue. The one that he loved, who he thought he lost. And now he’s walking on the shores in front of him. It’s no wonder that Peter just leaps out of the boat and runs to Jesus because out of all the disciples, no doubt he is the one carrying the deepest regret over everything that has taken place.

And when I read this story, this action, these words that John shares makes my heart so happy. Because what you see is a God that has not given up on him. Jesus shows up in Peter’s life and he doesn’t stop loving him.

When I think about this idea of regret, I think the reason that we often struggle with what to do, having no power really to undo anything, is because so often we think about the solution in terms of religion. Our default as human beings is to fight ourselves religiously. And what I mean is when we think about our regret in life, what we’ve learned is: I need to behave different, to become something different so I can belong and be loved. I need to modify my behavior. I need to behave different, to become different in order to belong. And what Jesus is teaching us here, it’s that Jesus’ primary interest isn’t in your behavior. I think God cares about your behavior, but behavior is a fruit. And what God is more interested is the root. God doesn’t primarily care about your behavior. God primarily cares about who you’re becoming. And God knows the way you become who He desires for you to be is based on where you belong. Does that make sense?

What I’m saying is in religious way of thinking, there is no hope. And here’s why. You can change your behavior all day long, but it can never undo the things that you’ve done that you regret. You can change your behavior all day long, but it’s not going to ever necessitate that it’s going to be perfect from this point forward and you’re always going to have to deal with regret. And what do you do with it? Well, when you can’t find a solution, it leads to death. Behavior, becoming, belonging = religion. Jesus, however, is this: belong, become and then behave.

Jesus knows Peter’s not perfect. Could you imagine if God had treated Peter in these moments, in a religious way? He comes to Peter and says, “Oh man, that guy, jeez! You know, I’ve given him chance after chance. He goes, lopping people’s ears off, always shooting off at the mouth. If I keep going with this, he’s going to deny me in Galatians 1. Forget this guy, let’s pick someone new. I can’t deal with anymore. His behavior is awful. He even denied me.” But God is showing in this story, his interest isn’t in what Peter does so much is where Peter belongs.

Because in belonging, God can produce in him a different heart. And Jesus preached this over and over. I would say it like this. Here’s where we battle in religion versus relationship to Christ. Sometimes we come to a church gathering and we think, okay, this morning, here’s what’s going to happen. Some of us are even timid to come to church cause this is what we think is going to happen. And it does happen. This sinfully happens, wrongfully happens. And if we think Christianity is this, I want to tell you in the front it’s wrong. What I’m about to tell you is wrong. Here’s what we think happens. I’m going to go to church now. They’re going to tell me all the bad things that I’ve done. They’re going to want all the good things that I need to do and I’m pulling my bootstraps and I’m going to do those things right?

That is not Christianity. That will never get past regret, that’ll never find forgiveness. That’ll teach you all about depending on yourself. That doesn’t give you the transformation that God calls you into. That is not what Christianity is about. That is what religion is about. That is not what Christianity is about. If you don’t hear anything else today, please hear that. That is not Christianity. Yes, you will read texts of the Bible that say, look, here’s things that are bad, here’s things that are good. But God’s purpose in that isn’t to say to you now go do good. God certainly wants you to do good things, but the driving force behind why you do what you do isn’t about your strength in doing good. It’s about what God does in you.

The reason God talks about good things and bad things, is so we can recognize in our lives, there’s something deeper than just my behavior, which God wants to address. And what he wants to speak to is my heart. This is why we battle with regret is because we fight religion. We look at it and we realize we can’t change the past. And so we walk around with this guilt and shame and penance as if I live in that long enough, then maybe God will love you. Well, the answer is God loves you.

That’s why he died. God cares about your behavior, but that’s not his driving force. What God wants more than anything is your heart. Because if he can get your heart, he changes your life. And that’s what he’s teaching Peter in this lesson. And inevitably what we learned through Peter’s example, which becomes a beautiful story of redemption and hope for us. And so what we begin to learn as the story plays out is give the Lord your regrets. What God does in verse 9 to 14. I’m not gonna read that, I’m gonna skip past it, but I love this. God has a meal.

The disciples come onto the shore and he has a meal. If you read the gospels, what you find, every thing that happens in the Gospels happens around a meal. It’s communion with God. It’s relationship. And then God jumps to the elephant in the room after the meal in verse 15.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” Let me stop here and say this: commentaries have a different response on this. When he says, Peter, do you love me more than these? They’re speculation as to what that means. Some people say, well, he’s saying, do you love me more than you love the disciples? Or do you love me more than the disciples love me? Or do you love me more than you love this occupation of fishing? People speculate in the different areas as to what it is. I’m the person that thinks, I think he’s talking about fishing here. I think that he’s not competing to have a better love than the disciples have. He just wants Peter to love him the way that God’s called him to love him.

But I think he’s saying, look, are you giving up and going back to this way of life? Are you really committed to me? And so he says, you can pick your own preference by the way, I don’t, it doesn’t matter here, but what does matter is the idea of where Peter’s heart is in connection to God. And so he says, “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ And he said, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ And he said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ And he said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes Lord. You know that I love you.’ He said, ‘Shepherd my sheep.’ And he said to him a third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ And Peter was grieved because he said to him a third time, do you love me? And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know that I love you.’ And Jesus said, ‘take care of my sheep.'”

Let me just say this. If Peter was stuck in the past of regret, he wouldn’t have never lived how God has called him to live in this world. And so once Peter defined forgiveness, and he never brings up forgiveness here, but here’s the reason I think that we find God bringing Peter in this place of forgiveness. It tells us in verse 17 after Jesus asked the question three times, Peter was what? Grieved. Peter was grieved. Why was Peter grieved?

Well, I think Peter recognized what Jesus was doing here. That Peter had denied Jesus three times as Jesus was about to be crucified. And so Jesus brings up that tension in their relationship for which Peter had left Jesus by asking Peter this question three times. It was a place of restoring. Just as you had had forsaken him three times, I want to know three times, Peter, do you love me? And Peter, I think in this moment was grieved because he knew exactly what Jesus was pointing to.

And when you look at the way that this story is written, this idea of love, there’s actually a different word for love used throughout this passage. When Jesus asked the question, Peter, do you love me? Peter does answer yes. But when Jesus asked this question, the first thing he says is, do you agape? Do you unconditionally love me? And Peter’s response, yes Lord, I love you. But when Peter says, I love you, Peter says, phileo, which is brotherly love. So I think Peter answers the question. He’s like, yes, Lord, I agape love you and I brotherly love you. But Jesus asks him again, do you agape love me? And Peter says, yes, I love you. And the third time, Jesus, rather than say, do you agape love me, Jesus changes his word for love here. And he says, do you brotherly love me?

And people look at this and they speculate as to what happened here. Some people say, look, it’s not that big of a deal that this is oftentimes done in Greek literature where they’ll play on this word love and use it in different ways, even though it may be the same word that they’re intending. They’ll switch these words out and then not a big deal. I think there’s a little something to this. And here’s what I think Jesus is doing.

Peter, more than these fish, are you willing to forsake things to make me Lord? Unconditionally do you give your life to me? Peter’s response is yes. Are you sure you unconditionally give your life to me? Yes. Well, in addition to me just being the King that you lay your life down, Peter, here’s what I’ll also want to know. Are we friends? I love this story. Because when it comes to regret, you don’t have the power to make things different. It has to come from outside of you. Someone that forgives you. And here’s what Jesus is teaching Peter. Peter, let me handle what I handle. You’re forgiven. And you go do what I’ve called you to do. Let go of the past. We’re friends. You belong.

I think the encouragement to us in this story is, take it to the Lord. Take it to the Lord. And you look at this and you’re like, well, this is great for Peter. This is great. Peter got his moment. But what about me? I think about this passage in Philippians 4:6. We like to say this, be anxious for nothing. Be anxious for nothing. And then when we make the application, our lives are like, be anxious for nothing by just all of a sudden not being anxious anymore. Oh yeah, I shouldn’t be anxious, therefore I’ll use my strength and I won’t be anxious anymore. But you know, the reason why Paul says this to us, be anxious for nothing? It has nothing to do with you. The verse that precedes this says this to us, the Lord is near.

Why do I have not to be anxious? Is it because within myself I draw up the strength and not be anxious. No. It is to recognize that everywhere I go, it’s in his presence. Let this moment that Peter had is a moment that I can have with the Lord too. Just as he was walking with Jesus on the shore and in his life, finding His grace and forgiveness, so God knows everything in my life as well. And it tells me in this passage, be anxious for nothing. Why? Because God’s right there. So here’s what it is encouraging us to do. Rather than hold onto regret and religious mindset, trust the Lord.

One of the famous passages in scripture says this, we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. And guys get this, even your regrets. God works all things together for good. Even your regrets. God’s big enough. God’s big enough to do that. And he loves you enough to do that. Even our regrets, God works together for good.

I know sometimes for us, this is where our battle is. It’s hard for us to imagine. You think to yourself, well, how could God ever work through my regrets? I’m not perfect. How can God work through that? Well, that’s the whole Bible. The whole Bible is God using crooked sticks to make His glory made known in this world. You think about this, not only does everything true become untrue by seeing Jesus resurrected for Peter, which is why Peter runs the shore. But you think this story has been written for almost 2,000 years. And if you think about the way the church has received this, this is a sigh of relief passage. And you think about what this story is, it is a place where you’re like, Lord, I’m not, I’m not happy Peter was an idiot, but thank you Peter was an idiot. Thank you for his value in this because, because what I learned in my was a place of grace.

And so even in Peter’s failure, it becomes a passage that brings comfort to God’s people because we see a path forward for our lives in our failures. So how in the world could God work all things together for good? Well, for 2,000 years, I think Peter’s been a living example for it. And not only that, the enormous example for our lives always is and forever will be the cross of Christ.

The symbol of the darkest, most destructive torturous device in all of history. And it’s our anthem of victory. We boast in the cross of Christ because it is the place of hope. If God can turn the darkest of moments in all of human history to the greatest day of celebration. We call it Good Friday. What is good about that Friday? If God can do that, I’m pretty sure he’s got your life handled too. You think about holding onto the regret and the place, it keeps you captive in the destruction it brings to your soul. And Jesus showing up to the shore of your life.

One of my favorite passages. Laminations 3, listen to this. Remember my afflictions and my wanderings. Wormwood and bitterness. And surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. And if you’re like that in these moments you’re thinking, I need Jesus to show up in the shore of my life so I can move forward. It says this in verse 21, than this I recalled to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s loving kindness indeed never ceases for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. Why would God say that?

Because what God is ultimately interested in isn’t your behavior. Though he cares about what you do. God is ultimately interested in is where you belong. Because if where are you belong as in his presence, God can transform your life. And God is so big he can control it all and redeem it for his glory. On that morning, Peter found the mercy of God. And so can we. If we had to live in our past regrets, no one could ever do anything for Jesus. Not Moses, not David, not Abraham, certainly not Peter. Because that’s the goodness of the gospel spoken into our lives, that God knows that he’s not finished with us yet. I think about the way the epistle writers have just described us. Listen to why Paul says this, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Peter the one that denied Jesus, said this, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. When we talk about our regrets, it’s not about excusing our sins. It’s about finding a healthy way to deal with it. And the answer is Jesus. It’s where justice and grace are found so that you find yourself free in him. That’s God’s desire for your life. That’s how we move forward as Christians. That this morning not be about what you do or don’t do. This morning, be primarily about this: are you and him friends? Do you agape love him unconditionally, sacrificially? Is he your King? And as your King, are you friends? His mercy is new every morning. Great is his faithfulness.