Monthly Pastor's Newsletter Article
Regret—the crushing sense that "I blew it"—is as universal of an emotion as love or fear. So, in a new study, two researchers set about trying to figure out what the typical American regrets most.
In telephone surveys, Neal Roese, a psychologist and professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Mike Morrison, a doctoral candidate in psychology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, asked 370 Americans, aged 19 to 103, to talk about their most notable regret. Participants were asked what the regret was, when it happened, whether it was a result of something they did or didn't do, and whether it was something that could still be fixed.
The most commonly cited regrets involved romance (18%) — lost loves or unfulfilled relationships. Family regrets came in second (16%), with people still feeling badly about being mean to their siblings in childhood. Other frequently reported regrets involved career (13%), education (12%), money (10%) and parenting (9%).
As I reflect upon the study, I see that no one mentioned spiritual regrets. The greatest spiritual regret is to live your life without faith in God and the Savior Jesus Christ. There is no greater regret than to die and stand before God having never received Jesus as Savior and Lord. But by then it’s too late.
Perhaps an almost equally significant spiritual regret is not fulfilling God’s purpose in your salvation. In this case, you did make a faith commitment to Jesus, but you failed to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ. You failed to make your faith and His church the central and defining aspect of your life. However, we do not need to continue that way.
I am reminded that because of the finished work of Jesus on the Cross, I am no longer controlled by my past failures and regrets. The Bible assures us that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The Apostle Paul knew all about regrets, especially surrounding is former life as a persecutor of the church. However, Paul did not allow his past failings to define who he was. He wrote, “I count all things loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
The Good News is that in Jesus we have been born again. We are new creatures. We have a fresh start, a new beginning and a clean slate. For the Christian, every day can be a new beginning because God’s mercies are renewed every day.
You may have some regrets in your life (as the Sinatra song says, “Regrets. I have a few.”).You may have regrets that you have not made the most of your faith. You don’t need to live with those regrets. You can forget what lies behind, reach forward to what lies ahead and press on toward the mark of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). Our God is always in a forgiving mood.
The shepherd loves the sheep!