Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, 'You too were with Jesus the Galilean.' But he denied it before them all, saying, 'I do not know what you are talking about.' When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, 'This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.' And again he denied it with an oath, 'I do not know the Man.' A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, 'Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.' Then he began to curse and swear, 'I do not know the Man!' And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the Word which Jesus had said, 'Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.' And he went out and wept bitterly.
'If only He had left Jerusalem. If only He had listened to reason. If only He hadn't challenged the priests. If only He hadn't said He would die. If only Judas hadn't betrayed us. If only we had fought harder for Him. If only I hadn't been so frightened. How could I have denied this Man I love? How can I go on bearing this great shame?'
Was Peter's mind trapped by bitter regret?
Bitter regret is hind-sighted sorrow: a twisted alliance of grief and guilt. Because when eyes get stuck looking backward, they can't see the right path to move forward. Perhaps Peter's coming confirmations helped him kick regret out of the picture.*
Also consider these Verses from Paul, the reformed persecutor of Christians. If Paul wallowed in a pit of regret, how could the Lord use him to change the world?
'Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 3:13-14).
'For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death' (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Don't allow the chokeholds of regret to keep you from God's destinations. If your kin call up your past mistakes, love them, but don't get bound by their words. Because they're not right to guilt-trip you.
Honest love 'Keeps no record of wrongs' (1 Corinthians 13:5).
The Lord instructs you differently:
'Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth' (Isaiah 43:18-19).
So don't dwell in a rear-view mirror. Dwell in Christ and keep walking forward.
To Be Continued...
* In John 21, the resurrected Christ asks Peter if he loves Him three time. Peter answers yes-yes-yes. Short article: Why did Jesus ask Peter 'Do you love me?' three times? https://gotquestions.org/Jesus-Peter-do-you-love-me.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.