We like to say we have no regrets. It sounds good, doesn’t it? I think we say this because we want it to be true, whether it is or not.
There are plenty of choices I wish I had made differently, but since I can’t go back, there is no point in dwelling on them. I think I learned from the decisions, even when it took more than one wrong turn. My life is great, despite the times I veered off course. I do believe that God works things together for good. It may not feel like it at the time, but He does.
I think about my girls and how I wish I could convince them to stay on the straight and narrow by my words alone. My brain knows that there are going to be plenty of lessons they have to learn the hard way. If only I could point to my own experiences and they would understand, but that is not how free will works.
When I think about it that way, of wanting my children to avoid heartache, I think I have a glimpse of how God sees it. He gives us so many examples of choices in the Bible, as well as all around us, and He hopes we use good judgment. But when we inevitably fail, He wants us to learn from it and leave it in the past. He wants to help us make the best of the situation, like I want to do for my children.
Some verses that help me understand God’s view are in the New Testament. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” There are two ways to deal with a failure: to move on or to dwell. God wants us to learn and be better in the future while Satan wants us to stay stuck in grief over it and never to do good again. Each time we look back on it and linger, Satan cheers.
The other verses are Philippians 3:12-13, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Taking our eyes off the prize does us no good. It distracts us and may trip us. Forgetting what is in the past sounds impossible, but God helps when we ask.
So since we have free will in an imperfect world, we are going to make mistakes, big and small. That is certain. To take those mistakes and massage them and make them bigger and more powerful is just as bad as the original mistake. However, when we learn from them and keep moving ahead toward the future God has planned, we grow and thrive. Hopefully along the way, we can help someone avoid the mistakes we made. As long as we only visit that time and don’t set up shop, we are on firm ground.
Do you have something in your past that is haunting you? Is God telling you to leave it behind for something better? I urge you to listen and drop it so you can run into His open arms with nothing weighing you down!
Linking with Holley Gerth