As a child, she had hurled vicious words at her parents. Little did she know that those words would be her last interaction with them. Now, even after years of counseling, she can’t forgive herself. Guilt and regret paralyze her.
We all live with regrets—some of them quite terrible. But the Bible shows us a way through the guilt. Let’s look at one example.
There’s no sugarcoating what King David did. It was the time “when kings go off to war,” but “David remained in Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1). Away from the battle, he stole another man’s wife and tried to cover it up with murder (vv. 2–5, 14–15). God stopped David’s downward plunge (12:1–13), but the king would live the rest of his life with the knowledge of his sins.
While David was rising from the ashes, his general, Joab, was winning the battle David should have been leading (12:26). Joab challenged David, “Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it” (v. 28). David finally got back to his God-appointed place as the leader of his nation and his army (v. 29).
When we permit our past to crush us, in effect we’re telling God His grace isn’t enough. Regardless of what we’ve done, our Father extends His complete forgiveness to us. We can find, as David did, grace enough to get back in the battle.
What regrets gnaw at your soul? Who in your life might be a safe person to talk to for the reassurance of God’s grace?
The book of 2 Samuel appears to portray David’s exploitation of Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah as connected to his failures as a king. The account emphasizes David’s guilt and portrays Uriah and Bathsheba as victims of an abuse of power (2 Samuel 12:1–17). In addition, the narrative seems to connect David’s actions to his failure as king to lead his troops. Instead, David remains in the comforts of Jerusalem and sends Joab (11:1–2)—a practice Joab appears strongly critical of in 12:27–28. It’s only after finding out that Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah (11:3–4)—a member of the king’s trusted inner circle (23:24, 39)—that David sent for her, perhaps knowing that with her husband in battle she was defenseless. The king had been called to care for God’s people (5:12), but instead he used his power to abuse and betray.