“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10, ESV)
I’ll be turning 52 next month. All of the fun milestones are behind me now. Turning sixteen and being able to drive. Turning eighteen and becoming an adult. And while I didn’t choose alcohol to celebrate, turning 21 was a big moment. Getting married. Having kids. Becoming an empty nester.
The ever-popular catchphrase, “no regrets,” echoes in my head. And as much as I try to live my life these days in a way that brings honor to my Savior, I can’t look back on my life with those two words.
It’s not that I’ve been exceptionally “bad,” or exceptionally stupid. I haven’t. But I do look back sometimes and wish that I had chosen differently at this or that crossroads.
For instance, I wish that I had gone to grad school right out of college. I still would like to go; and I still intend to do so. But it would have been easier than it is now. Concussions and chronic migraine make it more difficult to focus; but that wasn’t an issue back then.
And I spent a long time in bitterness over a situation in the first church in which I was involved. I regret those wasted years.
I regret that I wasn’t a better husband and father. I don’t regret my determination to be more patient and present, as Jesus has been with me.
I never have, and never will, regret following Christ.
People tend to see regret as a negative thing. But, as Paul points out in our text, regret that leads to repentance is a good thing! If we spend our lives looking back at our regrets, clinging to the “what if,” that is unhealthy. If we look back at our regrets with an eye to learn, grow and change, our regrets—our griefs—produce “a repentance that leads to salvation without regret….”
Having regrets doesn’t have to be a bad thing. They can help bring us closer to our Lord.
How do you feel about regret? Leave a comment; I’d love to hear your perspective.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash