TeachingJune 12, 2024

The Throes of Rue – (the agony of regret)

The Throes of Rue (The Agony of Regret)

REGRET is the greatest secret agent to undermine God’s purpose for your life. It prevents the gospel impact.  It is the most destructive force hiding beyond our feelings of inadequacy and failure. Regret is not just a bad feeling over a past sinful decision, act or event.  Regret undercuts all efforts to find new life.

It is the hidden culprit that keeps you running on a ‘treadmill’ to nowhere. It is a cycle of death  that continually erodes away our life like a sand castle on an ocean shore. You can’t figure out why you just can’t change, get anywhere,  not realizing regret has established itself at the deep-center of your mind.

Regret is deep-buried and hidden. Every time I hear “Time heals all wounds” I think of how this thinking is such a load of crap. Time heals nothing. You may forget something but it’s regret remains deep. It only deceives you from forgiveness from Jesus. We are held back from real change because we envision our past effort to change realizing we failed and felt terrible regret. So, deep inside, we figure we don’t want to regret failing again. This hidden fear prevents ever finding true change. No matter what we do there is always that underlaying lingering hesitation  that past failure ensures future failure.  The regret of constant failure ensures constant failure.

Of the many things I have seen in life the most grievous is seeing someone caught in the throes of rue. When a man is vexed within himself by himself he can’t see his way out because he has established himself as the way of thinking about himself. Get that? The smile is never full. The expression are never true. Why? He is snared by regret.

 Life can become a cycle of not knowing what to do and always doing the wrong thing. A double-minded man receives nothing from the Lord.When you have no real incoming flow of the Spirit of God, regret becomes the endless underlying fear and “influencer” of life. It is no small thing.

It is only when the actual mercies of God permeate our human cycles that the escape from regret becomes possible.  It is no little thing.  Regret is fed by our cycle of self-justification. We become fixed on the “reliable” old ways we’ve come to know.

There’s this thing called TIME. While we are fixed on the past as our measure for our present it passes us by with years. It’s sets the gages on all our behavior. It insists there is no reason to find true change because you’ve made it this far. Why go deeper now?  The answer is because we shall be judged by the gages of eternity. By the giving of His Son the Father demands we change.  Salvation in Christ  is not about what we must do, or what we must  undo,  but whether the winds of the One Who dwells in eternity are allowed within our consciousness.  It is the only way to expose and capture the vicious scoundrel of regret. There is no place for regret to function within His dimension of the Spirit.

JUST TO REITERATE AND CLARIFY: Our human nature holds us into the confines of time and flesh. As we age we continually look to our past as a reference for our future. We evaluate our lives by what our body and mind tell us about  our days and months and years and thus we establish some type of thinking that we now use to regulate our future life. But this is all within the confines of time and space. But this is a “curse” of sin because God seeks to regulate us by His eternal Spirit. To intervene in decision-making with eternal perspective.

Regret can burrow itself  so deep within us that we don’t even realize it’s daily impact. One time when we were in a horrible filthy campground in Morocco, Africa I  had a terrible pain in my forearm and began scratching it. After a time, I had no idea a bug had burrowed itself deep into my skin. I was grossed out when I watched itself back out.  This was like regret. We don’t even realize it’s there at a conscious level. We may “itch” at it by countering thoughts of guilt with false repentance. But it doesn’t do the trick.  Until we pay close attention to our subconscious awareness and realize its’ impact on our thinking.

Regret keeps us from full release of God’s love. It keeps us carnal. It is having an impact on everything. We don’t realize we are reacting to its impact on us at a deep level. This “bug” got under our skin at some time in the past. And we must STOP and go deep. For the blood of Jesus to get to this regret, and get it out of our system requires an understanding of His forgiveness.

We have given immense credit to our past to determine our future so it does not disappear in an emotional moment. Brain paths have been established and discipline and “dealing” is required (Heb.12). We must change the cycles of time centered thinking. We must realize the absolute sin in  looking back to evaluate things and conclude that what we’ve taken from our past,  is right and good, so we can then use to determine our present and ultimately our future. Paul says “ONE THING I DO…forgetting the past and reaching forward” (Phil.3). Regret is an instinct in our flesh. It does not ‘learn its’ lesson’. It is always there so unless we understand true repentance and forgiveness it may fake it’s surrender but it is a relentless adversary.  It’s still in you to think that what you learned from the past is right.  Regret now becomes a monster that plays with our mind. God says “if any man is in Christ old things pass away and NEW THINGS COME” (2 Cor.5:17). Jesus says when demons leave a man many more come to fill the void and unless the Spirit has come to occupy the last state of that man is worse. This is no game. This is warfare for you soul my friend.


Forgiveness is the most essential message of Jesus come to earth (Lk. 24:47). Repentance is the only thing He commands as a direct outcome for His resurrection power. Otherwise, our “power” is of the flesh not of His Spirit. So many skip over true repentance and thus allow regret to linger and keep them from true forgiveness. This is the danger of the “sinners prayer”. A token formula does not reach deep into a subconscious level of regret and sorrow. So you do not come away with a full washing of the conscience.

True repentance is not an action of behavior: works of the flesh; self-sacrifices  (Romans 4/Heb.10) . There is but ONE “once for all” act and sacrifice to atone for all sin past, present and future. Repentance does not atone. It brings into His atonement. It  is a condition of heart; to become “broken and contrite” over all things (Ps. 51:17Rm.10). God despises all thinking that “I shall do this for that (to be right with God) (Isaiah 66:1-3).

Jesus waits to answer our call  of true repentance (Jn.6:37). When you get real face to Face, heart to Heart with God about every angle of your sin you release true forgiveness in exchange for true repentance. What an amazing Savior. To end the cycle. Those nails in His feet and wrists when deep in the agony of regret as He bore every aspect of sin. He did it all. Now,  He waits. Blood atonement rendered. Then He waits. “Who will believe our report?” (Isaiah 53). True forgiveness is seen by true happiness (Romans 4:7-8). Happiness is not emotion or feelings. It is the drive of His Presence to love a lost and dying world. This is proof that regret is not your rudder.

Regret takes away any hope of change because our fear of failure is greater than our hope for redemption.  In other words when we give such weight to what we have done, so as to lock us into that “loser” persona, we then judge our life by that past criteria. God has no room to come in. It is an endless cycle of holding you to the past. The older you become the more likely to fall into The Throes of Rue.

 Regret is no little bear cub. It is a gigantic fierce adult grizzly that has tasted human blood. Satan would not own the world if he were a ‘dumb ass’. Once he sees that you are caught in his mind game he knows he’s got you. You will never go forward because you still think “your salvation” got you to where you are. The stupidity of this thinking is that you are NOWHERE. His claws and the teeth and strength of his bite will rip anyone to pieces. Over and over and over again this torment thrashes its’ victims.

I watched my earthly father die in this manner. So many times we came to his argument “I’ve believed this way all my life and I’m not going to change now”. How smart is that? Everyone is at a different stage of Christianity so their level of doctrinal understanding ranges from basic thinking of trying to be good and ‘accepting Christ’ or having a deep knowledge of the Bible. But no knowledge can save you from the throes of regret. 

This “grizzly” has two claws. With one it rips you one way, telling you “You can’t reexamine your life at this late stage. You’ve thought this way all your life. That would mean you wasted your life. You must be right. You can’t regret it now!”. With the other claw it pulls you “But you know you are not right. Your life is miserable. You are full of regret.”. This battle rages all day, every day, at a subconscious level and you have learned to look the other way. It is between self-righteousness and conscience and the only resolution is to find  the mercies of humility in the living Jesus. Full surrender and loss of face.

Jesus says “Unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-8).

“Come to Me” He beckons; “And I will come to you” He promises. There is a way that seems right to man but its’ end is the way of death. The things of God do not happen with lightening bolts of experience and thunder of emotions but in the most casual ‘just another day’ setting.  God has clearly and fully set out the truth. I write this article as man whose had no vivacious “Wow” experiences. Just simple faith in the unquestionable revelation of Jesus in the Scriptures. So many, laid back and careless; “Oh  that’s your opinion but I know I’m right with God”.   God warns  today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart.

As I am writing this, a Warden I was just sitting with,  here  in Colombia, was shot in the head by a ‘drive-by’ gang as he was arriving home. I was sharing with him in his prison office as we just finished being with a group of prisoners in his prison. I was explaining  the reality of being ‘born again’ and how to read the Bible. We couldn’t believe it when we just heard he was killed. 

Death comes in a microsecond. No “Headsup!”  No cinemagic music or melodramatic scene. You live. You die and you don’t know when. You go to heaven or you go to hell. You lived your life. You made your decisions. Now, Eternity is before you.

So let’s cut with all the small talk. Forget all the “Oh I already know it all” attitude. Any such attitude of presumption exposes that you are caught in the throes of rue. You fear reconsideration because, down deep, you simply don’t believe this Word of Jesus. The impact of Gods’ Spirit never leaves a soul in the throes of presumption. 

How much will  regret these matters here now on earth compared to the regret you will face when you die and go to hell?  This regret will be as nothing compared to that regret. Who cares how long you were wrong? None of that time will matter when you stare in the face of eternity. Lets look in each others eyes and realize death is no word game.

So let’s  rise into the higher level of our created capacity to reason with intelligence and love. Let’s meet together as two brothers and  soon-to-be-skeletons and talk of deep and beautiful things, as if on the same page. Our dead bones will be all thats left of what our  heart did on earth. You may tie your shoes in the morning  but a total stranger may untie them latter that day when he disposes of your body.

Nothing survives death….but One and His forgiveness.