2000-01-14 - Living Without Regrets
(Eph 5:15-16 NRSV) Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
This week, I thought, "Yes, I have a Sunday School lesson to prepare, a play to read for French class, housework to do, preparations to make for church leadership roles, a devotional to write, e-mail to answer and more -- and all these tasks are important. But I am going to make time to go out in the yard and play with my dog, Pierre -- or I will regret it." What are you regretting today? Words you blurted out at your children when you were angry? Not telling someone you loved him before he died? Spending too much time at work, and not enough with family? Not reaching out to that lonely neighbor who is gone now? Holding a grudge against a family member for a decade? Not thanking someone for something that meant a lot to you?
God gives us each 24 hours in a day, and He gives us the ability of speech, which we too often abuse. We can't recoup misspent time, undo some decisions, or retrieve hastily-spoken words. You can apologize, but the wound may take a long time to heal.
(James 3:5 NRSV) So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!
In addition, our attitudes can prevent the restoration of relationships. Many people live mired in bitterness for years -- even decades, imprisoning their spirits, as well as those who have hurt them.
We are to be good stewards of our time, actions, words and attitudes. We need to ask God to help us live our lives without regrets. When you find the Holy Spirit prodding you about something, pray for strength, and also acquire the habit of thinking, "will I one day regret doing / not doing / saying / not saying this?"
Dear Lord, guide us by Your Spirit, to lead lives that will leave us with peace and not regret. In Your Son's name, amen.