LEAVING THE VALLEY OF REGRET
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Psalm 51:8-9
Regret is a powerful force. If my heart is big and I love others, the potential for being plagued by sorrow is certain. The consequences of my past choices are ever in front of me, seen in the broken lives of family and friends who are paying for my bad decisions. I can spend much of my adult life discovering the things I could, and should, have done differently. The question is this: How can I walk in joy when the pain of my choices is still crippling others?
If those I love see that I have a deep abiding joy in Christ, and that I believe in God’s ability to heal and redeem, doesn’t this seem out of place if I am the one who hurt them? I believe that the key is for me to have joy in the midst of, and after humble sorrow.
Have you ever known someone who faced tragedy yet trusted God? They wept, yet they believed God in the middle of it. That is joy – in sorrow. This is the way I need to express regret; to show compassion amidst a joyful confidence that God will heal those I love. Humbly, I ask for their forgiveness. Expectantly, I show them that I pray for the day when God will heal all traces of alienation.
The alternative is stark. If I wallow in guilt, never able to hold my head up to those I hurt, I communicate that I don’t really understand God’s forgiveness. I also convey that I don’t really believe that God has enough power to use my mistakes for their good.
Let me put my arm around your shoulder and say some things. God knew our history before we lived it. He gave us our children, our parents, our siblings. He knew we would make mistakes and cause others harm. Yet, he still predestined us to be in those families, to be parents of those children. Just as He used our past hurts as catalysts to find Him, He will use their hurts (suffered at our hands) to bring them to the end of themselves. Their pain is their opportunity to discover the power of His grace. My faith just might inspire their faith.
I pray with tears. I pray with joy. Faith and tears can be married. Help me so that I can be whole. In Jesus’ name, Amen