What have I done! Recently my eyes were opened to something that I’ve been blind to for years and it crushed me. At 61 there can be many moments like this. Opportunities I missed. People I neglected who could’ve been a friend or I could’ve helped. People and situations I ignored or overlooked because of prejudice or a judgmental attitude or because of lame “excuses”. But year follows year and before I know it I’m looking at 20 years of what “could have been” in a relationship or a situation. My own blind eye astounds me. Especially when I realize there’ve been times I ignored or denied a nudge that came from God to wake me up. I could make a long list of regrets.
What do I do with that?
I can’t change my choices. I can’t undo the past 20 or 30 years. I can’t change yesterday! But in this moment, I can choose to love. I can choose to see the person right in front of me. I can choose to listen to God’s Spirit and not to my prejudices and wrong judgments. What astounds me is that God has known all along when I make these selfish choices and He loves me anyway. He’s always been there. He’s continually answered prayer. But He also allowed me to choose the behavior that would bring regrets. He knew I would face the consequences for the choices I make. He still loves me and He will help me to grow and learn but I also have to face the fact those opportunities are gone. The pain of that would be too much if not for His grace. I have to trust my regrets into His hands.
So what’s my response?
- Confess “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
- Let it lead me to repentance. Paul wrote, “Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
When I let my mistakes lead me to repentance and I obey Him, it leaves no regret.
- Forget the past “…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14
Confess it and let it go.
- Remember God uses everything. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
- Keep my eyes on Him to avoid regret. “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5
Regret may crush us at times but when we give it to God, He covers it with love.
Thank you Jesus for living and dying for us so that we can give you every sin, every sorrow and every regret. Thank you for your love that forgives us and for your blood that cleanses us of all our sins. Please help us live in a way that we can face each day with no regrets. We can only do that in your strength.
Read Psalm 51 for King David’s response to great regret.