Today’s message is from Pastor Pam Sutherland of the St. Paul United Methodist Church & Fort Gibson United Methodist Church.
I could have danced. These words have been playing in my head all week. They express my deep regret at missing out on something precious. A moment in time that will never come again. All because of a misunderstanding – questions not asked, words not said that could have made all the difference. Have you ever been there? Experiencing regret because you made a choice based on what you thought you knew at the time?
All of us have experienced regret in some form or another. An angry outburst, ugly words designed to hurt someone, failure to respond to a need in someone else’s life, can all lead to regret and guilt. Other times it is simply realizing that we could have, or should have, handled a situation differently, made a different choice, listened to sound advice, or just listened more carefully.
What do we do with our regrets? How do we keep them from stealing our joy and causing us to dissolve into a puddle of misery and self-pity?
If our regret and subsequent guilt stems from sin in our life, such as a failure to honor and love God and others by our words or actions, we must confess our sin, resolve to not repeat it (repent), and seek forgiveness from God and the one(s) we’ve sinned against.
God not only cleanses us from the sin but also from the regret and guilt we carry.
We can rejoice that we have been set free from sin and guilt and don’t have to carry that burden any longer!
When regret takes root in our lives because of disappointment over something that happened, or a lost opportunity, how do we deal with that? When there is no sin to confess, nothing to repent of, only a deep sadness that a circumstance could have been different had we made a different choice, how do we stop that black cloud of regret from hanging over us?
We can thank God that he causes all things, even our failures, to work together for good.
I’m reminded of the words to a song written by Linda Ball based on Ecclesiastes 3:11.
When we are tempted to fall into the pit of regret for past failures, we can turn it into praise knowing that God will keep His promises.
Father, I praise you for who you are and what you have done for me in Jesus Christ. I am grateful that you are sovereign, and somehow by your infinite power and wisdom, you will cause even my failures to work for good, and that you will make something beautiful from them in your time. Thank you for your patience and longsuffering with me. Thank you that I can be free of regret and guilt not only for my sins, but also because even though I could have danced, you still have made something beautiful from that circumstance, and I don’t have to carry that regret anymore. Amen.
Grace and peace,