Recently, a friend asked that I write about regret. He mentioned that he has had many conversations with older (70, 80-year-old) folks who wished they could redo parts of their lives. He wanted my take on this. Far be it for me to turn down a challenge.
There are certainly times when I wished I was a better mother to my boys. There have been times when my behavior was less than kind and compassionate and wished I could take back my anger and words. That’s regret. However, I’m glad do-overs are not an option. I wouldn’t actually change anything not even what the icky neighbor did to me.
Here’s why. All of those experiences have made me who I am. More importantly, it is these very human experiences that teach us to rely on God for strength, perseverance and comfort.
8-9 I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.
10 Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 MSG).
All of my experiences, including having an icky neighbor, have taught me about love, grace and compassion. They have made me a better wife, mother and friend. There is a catch. I have to be willing to let those moments of regret drive me toward God. I have to be willing to face it, own my mistakes, and make amends.
What the Apostle Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians is about a choice, a choice I get to make because of the cross. The gift we receive through Christ’s death and resurrection is only a gift if we get to choose. Love, grace, and mercy are a choice, a choice that only has meaning because of the cross. If God simply made everything perfect in our lives, the cross would be meaningless. Grace, love and mercy would be meaningless. We turn to God in times of regret because of love, grace and mercy. We turn because of the cross.
How have you faced regret? Are you willing to turn toward God? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.