Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Effects of Regret

Someone I used to know very well passed away last week. His passing reminded me of something he once said to me; he liked that I never lived in regret. A few months ago I was in a ministry situation where I saw the effects of regret on someone's life and how debilitating it can be. That person is my husband, Mike. And now the passing of that old friend has brought his words back to me, and I have been thinking about the power of regret again.
     Mike was going through a rough time, and I asked him if I could pray with him. I felt that what Mike was going through was bigger than his circumstances: it was a spiritual battle. As we prayed Mike repented for not believing God for his future and his life. When he did that he said that he felt that he had been going through a lot of confusion. That was key and immediately I prayed that confusion would leave Mike in Jesus' Name, and when I did things became clearer. Confusion had been hiding the truth from something that was holding back Mike's life, and that was "Regret." When the confusion that was clouding Mike's mind was exposed and "evicted" we saw that he had been living in regret. I asked Mike about it and he said that only that week he had been thinking about the past and wondering what would have happened if he had stayed in the Army or gone to nursing school 20 years ago. He also thought about the fact that he has a hard time finishing things. REGRET! He then repented and renounced words he had thought and spoken about his life.
     Through more talking and prayer Mike came to understand that regret came into his life when his dad died when he was little boy. Mike regretted that he never got to say good-bye. He wasn't allowed to go to the hospital. And there it was....his companion became Regret. In regret, Mike was always looking backwards and couldn't "see" his future. Regret stole Mike's future and his destiny. Regret blocks and affects vision. The enemy blocked the future bringing discouragement and defeat. Attached to regret was "Depression." Mike said that he was feeling depressed, too. His Joy was stolen along with Hope. Regret blocks the future with the past. Every day is an effort, mundane and mechanical. There is no hope for change.
     We got excited with this revelation. Regret affects the lives of so many people we know. It is bondage. It alters our vision. As we continued to pray something else was revealed: Memory. After Mike's dad died, he didn't want to remember things. It was too painful. He has spent most of his life blocking out memories which has affected his memory. All of this pain led to Mike using drugs, alcohol, music, etc. to escape the pain of remembering. As we prayed Mike started to remember what he was like before his dad died. He was happy-go-lucky and a straight-A student. Things were easy for him. But after his dad died he changed. Mike's memory problems robbed him of his confidence. He has had to work doubly hard to accomplish anything. Mike repented again. This time for not wanting to remember. He told the Lord that he would trust Him with his memories. He said he would not be afraid to cry and be cleansed of the pain of the past. I then prayed for Mike's restoration. I prayed he would enjoy learning again and would look forward to each day. I prayed that hope and joy would be restored. I prayed for a clear vision of the future. I prayed that Jesus would be his companion.
     The Lord showed us that regret had led to disillusionment, depression, despair, doubt, and defeat--all to rob him of his destiny. Mike's two favorite movies are It's A Wonderful Life and the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol. Both have themes that parallel what Mike has gone through and what he has lived. But instead of being portrayed in black and white, his has been in living color. The effect of regret is real. My prayer today is that if your life has been held back by any type of regret, you will talk to the Lord about it and give it to Him. He wants to set you free from any and all bondage. He wants you to look forward and not backward. Let Jesus be your friend and lead you into your destiny. That is the good news!