No Regerts…Oh Really?
No that is not a typo. Some of you may have seen a commercial, I think for Milky Way, where this burly guy is getting a tattoo and the artist is so busy eating her candy bar that she misspells “Regrets” at “Regerts”. Somehow I think there are some definite regrets going on in that scenario.
I would love to jump on my soapbox and tell you I have no regrets. In fact, I was one of those people that thought living like I had no regrets was somehow healthy. Mistakes were lessons learned and I charged forth mumbling about not looking to the past. Oh how things change.
I’ll admit, I do not like the word regret. It goes into the same box with religion – I don’t like either word. It has a depressing, mournful sound. Over the years I have learned the value of looking up how words are defined. We all know what they mean from context, but there is something of value in knowing the root meaning. According to the dictionary regret is “feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done”. A secondary definition is “to feel the loss or absence of something pleasant”. Unless you have completely developed yourself devoid of emotion…how can you live with no regrets.
I have even heard it said the Christians should live without regret. I have to disagree. If we do not feel bad, repentant about sin or our offenses toward others, how can the Holy Spirit guide us if we have no sense of repentance. II Corinthians 7:10, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas, worldly grief produces death.” We have regrets and they are our indicators on the areas we most need to lean on the Lord. Once we repent, there is no cause for regret to continue to plague us.
That is where we get hung up. I know I am forgiven by God. I know I have made peace and repented with every person I am aware of needing to make peace. Yet, there are certain things that bubble up to the surface, usually quite by surprise. I regret the way I handled many things with my children. It is a disappointment in myself that goes fathoms deep. Yet, it was something I could not clearly see until I was in God’s grace once more. My children needed a mother, not a probation officer. I know military and law enforcement families often have to deal with this phenomenon. We react based on our training. Which is almost never the way to react to our families.
We left North Carolina almost three years ago. My husband and I both left promising careers in corrections. We were both instructors, respected investigators and hard workers. We ate, slept and breathed corrections – especially gang investigator related items. Iron sharpens iron…right.
I loved what I did as a probation officer. I tried to work with people within the guidelines to avoid probation violation proceedings. That indicated rehabilitation was a failure. I tried to be encouraging, supportive and my charges knew that if they broke the rules, Mrs. G was going to follow protocol. Even as far away from God as I was back then, I had clients I wanted to pray with, to pray over. I would tell people, “No one can change you. You have to want to change.” It was so clear that the only way up and out was going to involve God. The job eventually broke something inside of me. I lost hope that I could make a difference. An offender I supervised took a life and I felt responsible. (This actually happened more than once.) Logically, I had done my job. There was nothing I could have done to prevent their actions short of sitting with them 24 hours a day. Yet, the regret hung over me. It did not matter if the person killed was another criminal. A life ended, a family lost a child, a parent or a spouse.
God’s Got It
God can take everything we do and use it for good. He can take EVERYTHING and use it for his purpose. I stress that because we are guilty of putting limits on God. He is limitless and although our human brains cannot quite process that, we need to remind ourselves…He can do ANYTHING with EVERYTHING. Making a bad decision, committing a sinful act may require some regret on our part. That is how I would describe the conviction of the Holy Spirit, a since of regret, disappointment in not living Holy. That regret stimulates repentance which then brings us to a point of no more regret. We are forgiven, not because we are perfect, but because of God’s grace and mercy.
So instead of having “No Regrets” tattooed on your arm, perhaps it should be “No Regrets Thanks to Grace”. In my discipleship book Grace is remembered like this: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense, that sums it all up. I start today without regret. Jesus has covered it all.
No Regrets Under Grace