Two types of people have never tasted regret: the sinless and the heartless. Only one falls in the first category; His name is Jesus. He walked the earth in complete innocence, never having done anything to be ashamed of. He was the world’s greatest lover. Never once did He mistreat anyone, nor did he ever have an evil thought. Even as He hung from a bloody cross, He knew only to forgive. Up to His last agonizing breath, He regretted nothing, for He had done no wrong.

Who Would You Rather Hang With?

Who Would You Rather Hang With?

There was one other on Calvary’s hill that showed little regret – one of two thieves crucified alongside of Jesus. He was heartless. This calloused crook expressed no sorrow for His sins. Instead, he spewed insults at the Savior. Chiming in with other mockers nearby he scoffed, “If you are the Christ save yourself and us!”

This dying thief displayed not one once of humility, only haughtiness. Instead of remorseful, he was resentful. He had danced through life to the beat of an evil drum and ended on a torturous note – sadly, without the slightest hint of regret.

To the other side of Jesus was one more crooked convict. Yet, with death at his doorstep, he sang to a different tune than the crusty criminal two crosses down. This forlorn fellow felt unworthy to die on the same hill as Jesus. The presence of such godliness humbled him. Whether it was the first time he tasted regret is unknown, but fortunately for him, regret visited in a nick of time.

Said the one thief to the other, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:40b-41) Seeing that the resentful robber was unmoved by his words, the repentant thief turned to Jesus bidding, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) Jesus assured that they would be together in heaven that very day.

This is a deeply moving story; how a crooked man finally came to his senses the instant death knocked on his door. Before his life could end, eternity began. He was given a pass he didn’t deserve, from the pit to paradise. It happened all so quickly – the moment he recognized Jesus as his only hope.

There was little time to apologize for every last sin. He didn’t even recite “The Sinner’s Prayer”. This serial sinner simply admitted that he deserved his cross, and that was enough to get a nod from above. You might even say, that thief stole God’s heart!

Along with his confession, the thief acknowledged Jesus as Lord and that the Kingdom of Heaven is His. “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” he pleaded. And by the skin of his teeth, he squeaked in. Yes, by grace through faith he was saved.

Regret is not a foe when it leads to repentance. It’s only a pain when wallowed in. There is no need for this. We can do as the repentant thief did – recognize that we deserve the cross and thank Jesus for taking it. From that point on, we no longer hold onto regret. We hold onto the promise of paradise.

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