“. . . though he was very sorry. . . he was unwilling . . .” Mark 6:26
“We can never get back what we lost” doesn’t mean nothing good can come out of what we have been through. The longing to recover what was lost might only be a selfish desire to avoid remorse. It will never be like it used to be. The fact is, we may get something greater or better back than what we lost, if we prepare ourselves to receive.
When the past comes back like an enemy, we must turn to the One who can give us forgiveness that enables us to forgive ourselves. Our hope from the ghost of the past and the foes of our own making is repentance.
The spirit of repentance cries out “against you only have I sinned.” When one prays this and means it, the force of God’s grace begins a marvelous change. The sure sign of a repentant heart is when the desire to be at peace and reconciled to the will of God is greater than the desire to avoid the consequences.
Memories of our past that honor and praise God, are often born out of sorrow, pain and failure. Our past is in one way unalterable – it happened and it will be that way for all of eternity. But, there is a point to our past, and its value will be determined by how it affects our future. If we choose to learn from it, we will be better because of it. After all, we are the product of the choices we make.
Herod could not put the head of John the Baptist back on again. He could not undo or erase it from the pages of history. His sorrow for it might have taken the sting out of the wound, and the wound itself might have been used for the healing of a nation. He might have tried to make an atonement for the evil he had done to one, by letting his regret compel him to do good to many.
The last biblical scene of Herod is in court, Jesus is standing before him. Herod’s conscience must have been screaming, “This is your chance! Tell it all to Jesus, admit your sin, tell Him you want to repent!” Sadly, the king didn’t. Jesus said not a word to him, because he knew Herod’s past had hardened his heart.
Think of a past regret and write down as many lessons as you’ve learned from that period of your life. By doing this, you’ll be making your past work for you.