Remorse means feeling bad about a mistake. When someone becomes aware of a mistake they made and understands it was bad, it generates remorse. The feeling of remorse brings guilt, but repentance leads to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Remorse is a normal reaction when we acknowledge the wrong thing we have done. It is our conscience telling us that we have done wrong. Remorse makes us feel guilty whenever we think about this wrong action, punishing us with unhappiness. This tells us that the problem has not yet been fixed.
The difference between remorse and regret
Remorse means feeling sadness and guilt for sin . Repentance is the next step. When we regret it, we decide to change. Instead of continuing to feel remorse, doing nothing, we chose to change our lives and look for a way to do that.
The Bible explains that there are two types of sadness: sadness that destroys and sadness that leads to salvation ( 2 Corinthians 7:10 ). “Worldly sorrow” only produces remorse, which brings guilt and condemnation. But “godly sorrow” leads to repentance.
Remorse is our conscience condemning us. Repentance is the solution to condemnation. When we repent, we are determined to act differently, rejecting the sins of our past lives. We started to fight against sin, to live differently, with a clear conscience. Repentance brings God’s forgiveness, which frees us from guilt. But we cannot change our lives alone. We need Jesus.
Find out more about repentance and its results here.
How to get rid of remorse?
First, remorse can be a good thing when it convinces us of sin and the need to change ( Psalm 51: 1-3 ). Remorse is only bad when it continues, without leading to regret.
To be free from remorse, we need to repent ( Acts 3: 19-20 ). That means choosing a different life. But we cannot get rid of the guilt of sin alone. We cannot “balance the accounts” with good deeds. We need God’s forgiveness first.
That is why God sent Jesus into the world. On the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins! When we repent and believe that Jesus is our savior, who died for us, we receive God’s forgiveness and new life. Past mistakes are erased from our “account”.
Thus, we live a new life, in which we no longer need to feel remorse for the mistakes of the past. We have a new chance, and this time, Jesus is with us to help us live right. We are still going to make mistakes, but with the help of Jesus, we can leave mistakes and remorse behind, trying to always live better, more like Jesus.