How do we let go of regret horizontally in relationships?
We repent, trusting in God for the freedom of forgiveness. Rather than harboring the thought that we could change the past: the offense, the offender, or our past behavior, we change our thoughts about the past. We let go of the past and hold on to the present.
In order to repent and let go of regret, first, we must let go of our past fear and protection, releasing our unrealistic expectations that we are holding against the offender. We pray and ask God two revealing questions which can uncover our hidden cause of regret: “What do I fear?” and “What am I protecting?” If we are honest, each answer will include the word, pride. Let go.
Second, we must hold on to the present and learn to love our offender with our mind because he is our neighbor (Matthew 22:39). In order to do this, we must first read the Bible to learn the prerequisite to loving him. Paul said that in humility, we need to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). This includes our offender. Thus, we turn from the thought that we could change the past to changing our thoughts about the past. This frees us to live and learn in the present.
Picture the offender against whom you are holding on to regret and subsequently withholding forgiveness. Pray to God, asking, “What do I fear? What am I protecting?” Then, confess the fear and protection of pride that you are white-knuckling. Read Philippians 2:3, speaking each word aloud: “Do nothing out of self-ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Ask God to teach you how to wisely humble yourself toward the offender.