A Life of Regret
by Marlo Wells
A Life Of Regret
2And saying, Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. –Matthew 3:2 (AMP)
I wish I hadn’t done that. I can’t believe I said that! If only I could take it back. Or to quote the famous Steve Urkel, “Did I do that”? How many times in any given day do you find yourself uttering these very words? And if you are doing this daily, the task of rising above whatever the situation is that caused it can seem insurmountable. Days carry over to weeks, weeks to months, months to years and years to a lifetime.
Why are so many lives filled with regret, from the smallest slips of the tongue to the major blow outs that separate for a lifetime? It’s very simple. We stop at regret. Regret is only a part of repentance. Look at today’s Scripture.
“Regretting your sins and changing your conduct”.
Repentance, followed through to completeness, is what in fact liberates you from a life of regret. Repentance will bring you face to face with reality and send you in the opposite direction. Regret keeps you in bondage.
I believe that people who continue to do the same things over again, don’t necessarily regret what they are doing. In my opinion, they regret getting caught and regret how they are viewed after getting caught. Sometimes that is enough for them to view their behavior with a clearer perspective. However, a lot of times it is not. The more realistic approach would be to ask yourself, “What is it that I regret”?
Looking back on my life, there have been so many things that I have regretted. From my childhood to my life today, there are many things that I wish I would have done differently. The problem is that the very moment that has just passed can never be regained. All the money in the world, all the begging and crying, all the regret can never retrieve that single moment in time.
How then is there any hope for us? Grace.
Try as we may, imaginations, movies and wonder creams, there is yet to date no such thing as a time machine. In order to grow, we have to accept responsibility for that which we regret and change our ways and move forward.
The only guarantee that you have with repentance is God’s grace and freedom. Your regret and repentance does not assure you a place in the person’s life that you have hurt. It does not even guarantee you their forgiveness. But it does guarantee you God’s forgiveness and that it the most important thing.
I cannot tell you the times I have had to apologize to a telemarketer or help desk phone support. First of all, I don’t have to answer the phone if I don’t know who it is. Second of all, if I call in for help, I have to remember; they are doing their job and have probably been talked down to all day. All these things aside, I am Christ’s representative, ouch!
That is a seemingly minuscule thing in the greater scheme of our regrets. I have sat down with my children and asked for their forgiveness where I have failed them. I point out that they should learn from our mistakes and go on to have better marriages and be better parents. Don’t repeat our struggles. Don’t live with our regrets.
I have had to seek the forgiveness of my husband for the things I have said and done that have wounded him along the years. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing; it is a gift, a treasure. It should never be taken for granted. If someone bestows such a gift on you, should you not guard it? That is changing your conduct. Feeling the pain that you have caused another and never wanting to wound them again.
There are things I have said and done in my walk with Christ. There are people I have wounded along the way in the Body. I have cried out to God for His grace and mercy, His forgiveness for myself. But I have also cried out for those that I have hurt. I ask God to guard and keep them, that they will not be led astray because of my actions.
Looking at our lives and how we live can be very disheartening. It can leave you unable to move forward, weighed down in the muck of despair. You can easily find yourself defeated before you can even get started. What’s the key?
10For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death]. – 1 Corinthians 7:10
Godly repentance, that leads you to regret your sin and change your conduct, will never lead you back to regret. If you don’t regret your sin to begin with, there will be no repentance. But upon attaining true repentance, you will have no regret.
Paul is our shining example. If anyone had cause to be weighed down with a life of regret it would be him. But he lived a life of repentance and made it his life’s “one aspiration”:
13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead –Philippians 3:13
Let us join with Paul. Let our lives be one of true repentance. Pursue God whole-heartedly, making this your one aspiration. There will we find freedom from a “Life of Regret”