The three r’s – regret, remorse, repentance

By Dave Henning / April 26, 2017

“Regret should lead to remorse, and remorse should lead to repentance.”- Kyle Idleman

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”- 2 Corinthians 7:10

As Kyle Idleman concludes Chapter 3 of Grace Is Greater, he talks about the three r’s – regret, remorse, repentance.  Confrontation with our sin ideally leads to regret.  Next comes remorse.  Although God’s grace won’t leave you there, that’s where God’s grace most often finds you.

Unfortunately, Pastor Idleman notes, when coming face-to-face with our guilt, we often do everything possible to avoid remorse.  Kyle lists five common ways we deal with our regrets:

  1. Rationalization– when someone rationalizes you get the feeling they’re trying to convince themselves something is OK when, deep down, they know it’s not.
  2. Justification– this avoidance technique usually takes the form of blaming anything or anyone but yourself.
  3. Comparisons– compared to the sins of others, our sins seem trivial.
  4. Distraction– as Kyle notes, this avoidance behavior’s the biggie.  We fill every second of our lives with work, relationships, etc.  Thus, we never take time to reflect on our decisions.
  5. Escapism– a hard-core form of distraction.  Self-medicating our guilt only numbs the pain of our sin for a short while.  In fact, Kyle’s convinced many people slowly kill themselves with regret.

However, Kyle remind us, “regret should lead to remorse, and remorse should lead to repentance.”  In addition, the author notes, he’s learned to look for tears as a sign of repentance.  Also, tears possess incredible healing power.  Kyle cites John Chrysostom:

“The fire of sin is intense, but it is put out by a small amount of tears, for the tear puts out a furnace of faults and cleans our wounds of sin.”

Today’s question: How have you experiences the three r’s- regret, remorse, repentance following your vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Grace is only grace if . . .”

About the author

Dave Henning

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