The Difference Between Regret and Repentance


By Kyle Idleman

 

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘at home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”  (Luke 15:17-19)


There has been much discussion over the last several weeks about change. We've heard a lot about changes in everything from politics and government to leadership and lifestyle. However, there hasn't been quite as much discussion about personal change. Kyle Idleman writes in great depth about personal change in his book,  "AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything,"  He describes change as an "AHA" moment by saying,
 

"Instead of self-help, we are asking for God’s help, because AHA is a spiritual experience that brings about supernatural change. More specifically, let’s define the word aha this way: ‘a sudden recognition that leads to an honest moment that brings lasting change."


After the Prodigal Son came to his senses in Luke 15:17,  there was no one else around. It was just him and the pigs. Sometimes the hardest conversation to have is the one you have with yourself. Brutal honesty begins when we look in the mirror and speak the truth about what's really there. AHA requires you to tell the truth about yourself to yourself.

Sometimes the hardest conversation to have is the one you have with yourself.
— Kyle Idleman

He was honest with himself about what he deserved. That kind of honesty is difficult. The hardest person in the world to be honest with is the person you see in the mirror.  We usually prefer the awakening without the brutal honesty.

But avoiding brutal honesty will short circuit lasting change. When there is recognition without repentance, AHA doesn't happen. When the Prodigal Son came to his senses, he dealt with himself truthfully. An awakening must lead to honesty. Conviction must lead to confession.

This is the biggest difference between regret and repentance. Many of us will have an awakening and regret that things have turned out the way they have, but we won't repent of our part in it. We regret that someone has noticed and pointed out our wrongs, but we'd rather continue to deceive them and prove ourselves right than actually confess the truth.

Our heavenly Father sees and knows all, so it's not a question of getting caught. The honesty I'm talking about is more than a simple acknowledgement; it is a kind of brokenness. Yes, you tell the person who caught you that you are sorry, but you must go beyond that. In an honest moment when no one else is around, you must tell yourself the truth about yourself and know that you are sorry.

That's difference between regret and repentance.

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KYLE IDLEMAN is the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and is the author of the award-winning and bestselling book, not a fan. You can follow him on Facebook.

Content from today's devotion was taken from "AHA: That God Moment That Changes Everything" by Kyle Idleman.