“King Herod … seized John and bound him in prison … And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. … But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet …. For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.’ … And she went out and said to her mother, ‘For what should I ask?’ And she said, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head.” (Mark 6:14a, 17b, 19-20a, 21a, 22, 24-27 ESV)
That has to be the worst excuse ever for doing something bad. King Herod decides to cut off John the Baptist’s head because he has made a foolish promise to a dancing girl in front of his dinner guests, and he’s worried what they will think of him. How horrible! Where are his priorities?
But if we’re honest, we understand his feelings, don’t we? Almost everybody has had times when we worry and ask, “What will people think of me? Will they think badly of me if I do this thing, or if I don’t do this other thing?” And sometimes we let that worry push us into doing stupid or evil things—decisions that haunt us when we’re lying awake, even years later.
How do we deal with those regrets? Is there any way to put them to sleep—to get free of them? And what if they were really terrible things that we did—even things that caused major loss or death? Can we be free of that?
Yes. The good news that God has for us is that we can be free, even from the worst sin and guilt. He will take it all away from us and make us fresh and clean, like people who have never done such things. But how?
God has done it for us through His own suffering, death, and resurrection. It is the whole reason why He was born into our world as the baby Jesus, our Savior. He grew up among us as human beings, working as we work, living as we live—but without ever doing evil Himself. He was the only truly innocent Man to ever walk the earth. And then of His own free choice He took our guilt and evil upon Himself, trading places with us, suffering the death we should have died, and paying the price we could not pay.
Jesus did this freely, because He loved us. And then He rose from the dead, really and truly, so that we would know it was over—that our evils were canceled, paid for, taken away forever and ever. Jesus will never die again—He lives forever. And He promises to share that spotless, clean, everlasting life and happiness with us—with everyone who trusts in Him. He doesn’t lie. The promise is true.
Prayer: Lord, take my regrets and guilt and make me clean and new in You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted with permission from the Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Have you ever done something you regret because of social pressure?
2. If you are willing, share one regret that you have, big or small.
3. How does Jesus help you with your regrets?