Bad choices produce a variety of bad results. Past choices cannot be changed, undone or taken out of historical existence. The negative consequences can, at times, be “ironed-out,” and yet it is nearly impossible to eliminate all the wrinkles therein. Such bad choices with their consequences are too often the source of ongoing and nagging regret. It is often the case that Christian ministry encourages people to seek forgiveness from God (less often from other people) for the past choices and lifestyle that produced regret, yet offer no instruction regarding the actual issue of regret itself. Sadly, it is too common that we do not even encourage or instruct people to forsake and find victory and deliverance from the very thing that produced the regret consuming them, simply assuring people that, “We all sin every day in word, thought and deed.” Though such “assurance” possibly dulls the sharp edge of guilt, it is incapable of eliminating neither guilt nor regret. Ongoing sin, selfishness, immorality and irresponsibility continues to be the source of eventual, future regret.
Regret is, to say the least, an interesting thing. Certain approaches toward life, choices and conduct, various forms of irresponsibility and immorality, naturally produce regret. Many live through such unacceptable approaches in a type of fog that prevents the reality of regret from capturing them. It is possible that business and other distractions can take our minds off its existence and yet reality has a way of seeping through the cracks, eventually filling the reservoirs of our minds. For some, this experience can be crippling.
Imagine entertaining a group of friends by offering “humorous” insults at the expense of an absent friend. Each insulting comment made elicits a response of approving laughter that encourages further comedic efforts. After, what you assume to be your most clever insult, you are met with a response of uncomfortable silence. After a brief moment of silence, you realize that the victim of your foolishness is standing behind you. A wave of anxiety produces a sickening physical reaction. In such a moment, you are not, and should not be, comfortable in their presence nor do you want to look them in the eye. Such an occurrence will, as well, produce lingering relational stress – possibly tolerated but nonetheless, present.
The preceding scenario, though we could consider the ramifications of such experiences on one’s relationships with other people and the regret it generates, is currently to be used as an illustration for something of greater significance. I would suggest that there is not a place in the universe that will not be hell for a person who steps into the unveiled presence of God with unresolved guilt. There is not an arrangement whereby they will not be tormented by ongoing regret. Such unresolved guilt and abiding regret will make it overwhelmingly torturous to be in the presence of the most intense, powerful and glorious Being in the universe as a life of insult to His name produces torment. I believe it is safe to say, contrary to the seemingly prevailing representations of an angry God who takes pleasure in vindictive justification, that in a move of mercy and brokenness, God declares, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Let it be known that God has declared, “…I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies…(t)herefore, repent and live” (Eze.18:32). The dilemma begins. In His presence, you long for the relief of being out of His presence. Out of His presence, you long to be in His presence. This becomes an intense source of deep regret, accompanied with anguish and anxiety from which there is no relief. Could this be the “unquenchable fire,” the “worm that does not die” (Mk.9:43-48)?
Massive amounts of people live with regret that, beyond forgiveness (though important and necessary) must find resolve. Along with assisting in such resolve, it is important to help them unfold a new life that ceases to simply produce increased amounts of regret. This is Christian ministry.
 In a sense, the regret that human beings produce, if left unresolved, eventually produces a measure of regret in God as He executes the unpleasant determination of sending those He loves from His presence.