Past Regrets

Clinging to past regrets can be a rejection of the very meaning of repentance

Transformation is not something that happens in an instant, but is a journey towards holiness, and as long as we look to the future with hope, transformation of the heart continues, and our past becomes but a fading memory.

There are many people who cling to memories of past sins, holding on to guilt and shame, reliving things long ago confessed, as though they happened yesterday. They struggle with regrets, often revisiting shame as though they were archeologists, digging for historical artifacts that must be preserved.

Such is not the case with God, for His interest is not in our past, but in our future. Confessed sins are counted as nothing, for God looks with interest on the transformed heart that has been made anew, with contrition. God looks to our future, for His loving mercy is upon the man who has confessed his sin, and that sin is counted as nothing. God is interested in what we are doing with our future, and as a loving Father takes pleasure in the steps we take in our journey towards Him.

For us to look back is to reject the very role of confession, for if we cling to past regrets, we are rejecting the very meaning of repentance, which means a change of heart and taking a direction that is all about the future.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday January 11, 2019 / December 29, 2018
33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Sviatki. Fast-free
The 14,000 Infants (Holy Innocents) slain by Herod at Bethlehem (1st c.).
Venerable Marcellus, abbot of the monastery of the Unsleeping Ones (485).
St.Basiliscus the Hesychast of Siberia (1824).
New Hieromartyr Theodosius priests (1938).
Virgin-martyrs Natalia, Natalia, Eudokia, Anna, Matrona, Barbara, Anna, Eudokia, Ephrosia, Agrippina and Natalia (1942).
Venerable Mark the Grave-digger of the Kiev Caves (11th c.).
Sts. Theophilus and John of the Kiev Caves (11th-12th c.).
Venerable Theophilus of Luga and Omutch (1412).
Venerable Laurence of Chernigov (1950).
Venerable Thaddeus, confessor, of the Studion (818).
Venerable Benjamin, monk, of Nitria in Egypt (392).
Venerable Athenodorus, disciple of St. Pachomius the Great (4th c.).
St. George, bishop of Nicomedia (9th c.).
St. Trophimus, first bishop of Aries (3rd c.).
Commemoration of all Orthodox Christians who died from hunger, thirst, the sword, and freezing.

The Scripture Readings

2 Peter 1:1-10

Greeting the Faithful

1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Fruitful Growth in the Faith

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

Mark 12:1-12

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

12 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some.6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him andkilled him and cast him out of the vineyard.

9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others.10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
11 This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is Igumen of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.


  1. Good Word Abbot, surely The Jesus Prayer and the writings of Elder Thaddeus speak to this issue of forgetting the past and what we have already repented of. Your words to me have been helping me from needless regret.

    Pray for Lily our granddaughter who is dealing with enlarged blood vessels in her Brain, this could be serious and at this time there is no remedy. Pray for Jessica and Dan her parents to trust God and experience His peace. Praying for a healing if it’s His will.

    1. Clarke, I will pray tonight for your family and Lily’s health, comfort, and salvation. It is brave of you to publicly ask Fr. Tryphon to pray for her, and his intercession is a sweet blessing.

      I have an Akathist to St. Luke of Crimea, the Blessed Surgeon and Archbishop of Simferopol. You might like this beautiful prayer book from St. Paisius Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Arizona. It, that is, St. Luke’s prayers, definitely helped me a lot in recent years when I was deeply sick and secular medical treatment wasn’t enough. They also offer an Akathist to the Mother of God, Pantanassa, Healer of Cancer and other diseases. Formal akathists are a good complement to the Jesus Prayer when we have a particular need to pray about.

      Please consider how meaningful it is that Jesus loves your granddaughter, and His love is a divine remedy for all diseases, even when the doctors frankly don’t know what to do. They’re doing their professional best. If I may suggest this, someone who can help parents to cope with a sick child’s suffering is a hospital chaplain.

      It is always God’s will to heal His servants and children, let’s not doubt God’s Will to heal – Jesus clearly said in the Gospel, “I will it” (also translated, “I want!”) when the man with leprosy asked Him to heal and cleanse him. I will have the great honor to venerate a certain myrrh-streaming icon this weekend, and so can pray for Lily then. But I’m simply a young man who has learned from my own humiliating, oddly Christ-centered diseases that I have a duty to pray for the sick. And I enjoy prayer, so there’s no need to thank me.

  2. Father, Bless.
    Thank you for the reflection on past sins. This morning I prayed through one of my favorite Psalms 32 (31). It seems to coincide with your reflection:

    Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
    Whose sin is covered.
    Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not [b]impute iniquity,
    And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
    When I kept silent, my bones grew old
    Through my groaning all the day long.
    For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
    My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
    I acknowledged my sin to You,
    And my iniquity I have not hidden.
    I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
    For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
    In a time when You may be found;
    Surely in a flood of great waters
    They shall not come near him.
    You are my hiding place;
    You shall preserve me from trouble;
    You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will guide you with My eye.
    Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
    Which have no understanding,
    Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
    Else they will not come near you.
    Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
    But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
    Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
    And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

  3. Dear Father Abbot,
    I am sure that I am not the only person who reads your post and thinks, “He wrote that just for me.”
    Thank you.

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