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Monday, August 23, 2010

Off the Hook

**"Dread remorse when you are tempted to err, Miss Eyre; remorse is the poison of life."
"Repentance is said to be its cure, sir."
"It is not its cure. Reformation may be its cure..."

I think about stuff a lot.

Because of some interesting circumstances, I've been thinking about remorse and regret.

Are remorse and regret the same thing?
Regret, for me, speaks to a missed opportunity because of a choice (either bad or benign) that I made.
Remorse seems deeper. Remorse means I made a hurtful decision and either I or someone else had to pay painful consequences.
Regret carries with it the idea of lost hopes and dreams.
Remorse carries the burden of bad choices.
Remorse makes you cringe every time you think of your prior actions.
Even if everyone around you lets you off the hook, remorse clings like the pungent smell of skunk in your heart and soul.
So is repentance remorse's cure, as Bronte so eloquently writes in Jane Eyre, or reformation?
Is repenting--turning from what caused the remorse--enough? Or does is require reforming--changing---replacing?
Simply feeling bad and saying you're sorry doesn't seem to be enough.
Remorse, to me, seems somehow hidden in the depths and tied more to how we view ourselves and our actions than to how others perceive us.
If that's the case, if it's true that it's more about how we see our own hearts, then not only is repentance and reformation necessary, but grace.
Repentance and reformation alone seem like penance.
Don't we want absolution? Don't we seek forgiveness?
Don't we need Grace?
I do.

Remorse seems to require both forgiveness from others and some inner forgiveness from ourselves to take place. But why is that so hard?
I let other people off the hook but rarely give myself a break even when I know that both people and God have let it go.
Thank God that regardless of whether I feel better or forgiven or off the hook, because of His grace, I know I am.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Paul to the Romans

**Excerpt between Jane and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

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