Luke 23:48 All the crowds that had gathered for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, went home, striking their chests.
If you truly regret something you’ve done, then it means you didn’t fully know what you were doing.
Imagine yourself there. You heard that Pontius Pilate wanted to release Him, but the crowds shouted insistently for His crucifixion. You’ve gathered with hundreds of others for the “spectacle.” Jesus hangs on a cross and you begin joining in with the others hurling insults at a man you assume is a criminal, an enemy of Jews. Maybe you’re one of those casting lots for His clothes. And then suddenly the sun grows dark, the earth shakes, and when the son of man breathes His last, you realize He was also the Son of God. Your actions over the last few hours that seemed so justified now wreak of injustice. You committed them and there’s nothing you can do. As sorry as you are, there’s no way to take them back. You have to live with them.
Regret. It’s what caused them to go home wailing and “beating their chests.”
The word comes from re “again, once more” and grata “to weep, groan.” To weep and groan again and again. This kind of inescapable pain can be horrific and it’s common to suppress it.
I meet people regularly at the mission struggling with chronic substance abuse, mental health issues, poverty. Much of it is rooted in great regret, lost in hopelessness that’s commonly expressed, “If you only knew what I’ve done.”
You’ve felt it; something you said or did that you’d do anything to take back. How can something that is “water under the bridge” wash over you again and again? How do you live with it?
You can’t. No one can truly flourish under the weight of regret. So what’s God expecting from us?
He wants us to receive the very thing that He prayed from His cross for the crowd before they went home filled with regret.
“Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”(v.34) Do you think, if they could have had a glance into their late afternoon on that day, that they would have joined in the jeering? Do you think they would have cheered His murder if they could have had just a foretaste of the regret that would fill their mouths later that day? The answer is “no” and that answer is intrinsic to the nature of regret.
If you truly regret something you’ve done, then it means you didn’t fully know what you were doing. You mis-projected some outcome or miscalculated some result. You just didn’t know. Jesus knew. He knew that if that crowd fully understood who He was and what they were doing, they would never have been a part of it. He forgave them.
He’s forgiven you, too. Regret is not a part of His Kingdom or His plan for your life.
Take a few minutes and think about any unresolved regret in your life.
Did you make a decision once that you feel changed the direction of your life off God’s intended course?
Have you broken ties of a relationship you wish still existed?
Have you hurt someone in a way that seems irreparable?
Maybe you’re still carrying some of that “chest-beating” woefulness. If so, it’s keeping you from living the fullness of the new life Christ died for you to have. Remember, God is more than a redeemer of lost souls. He’s a redeemer of lost routes, lost time and lost dreams, too. Make amends as you need, let Him be your redeemer and receive His forgiveness in full.
They went home striking their chests that day for something they were a part of that they thought was irreversible. If they had only known, Sunday was coming.