Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Sometimes the things we regret are not things that we have done but things that we haven’t done. For example, after a conversation or a meeting, I’ll think back and wish I had said or done something differently—for a better result. We can all think of things that we wish we would have done, but didn’t.
On the night that Jesus was arrested, Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus. And even though Jesus forgave him, I wouldn’t be surprised if Peter recalled that night often, wishing he had stood up and told the truth. No doubt, fear played a big role in Peter’s denials. Fear of being found out. Fear of being associated with an accused man. Fear of being tried and killed himself. But then I wonder if a form of fear might also have visited Peter years later as he recalled those events—fear tied to regret for not doing what he should have done.
Fear plays the same games with us at times. Perhaps we are afraid of consequences, or of being judged, or of what it might cost to speak the truth. And later, as we think back to those times, maybe we are afraid again—afraid that our character wasn’t good enough or that we will be judged for not doing right.
But we have to give those failings to God. God has forgiven us, and his perfect love drives fear away (1 John 4:18).
Lord, help us to do what’s right in all situations—and please take away our fears. In Jesus’ name, Amen.