Living Without Regrets
Is it possible to live a life of no regrets? Is it even right to want to live a life of no regrets? What does it really mean to live without regrets? An easy answer is that it means you are living a perfect life, where you make no mistakes at all. To this answer, I would say it is not possible, for many reasons that we know. Human beings are not perfect. We are full of mistakes of omission and commission. Sometimes, you don’t even realise you made a mistake until you look back. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
On the other hand, another answer can be that having no regrets means that you do not reevaluate your actions. This can be dangerous, because you are unable to learn from your past experiences, to improve or change anything.
A life of no regrets is unrealistic. However, this does not mean we should go to town, misbehaving at will. While it is true that human nature is fallible, when we rely on God to help us and guide us, we can live a fruitful and productive life, where we are constantly learning and adjusting our behavior as we go through life. That is an enabled life. A life of marvelous help from God. That is what we should aim for.
I came across a book that was based on Matthew 7:23 where Jesus said, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”. The author titled the book ‘Seven Words You Never Want To Hear’. Which words are these? The seven words in the verse quoted above: “I never knew you. Depart from Me.” Those are frightening words, and whether we like it or not, some people will be recipients of those words on that last day. My prayer is that it will not be me or anyone reading this.
If we are able to come to terms with who we are and how we are, we will make allowance for our mistakes and allow God to take care of them in such a way that His plans are still fulfilled in our lives, despite our mistakes and shortcomings.
I have heard a number of sermons where the impression given is that once you miss it, that is it. You are stuck with the consequences of your sin. I don’t agree with that. God is merciful and kind. He understands our frailties. Jesus lived as a man among us. He knows what we go through. I believe that is why He gave us the option of repentance. If we are humble enough to recognize where we went wrong and come back to Him in repentance, He will forgive us, and cleanse us. That process of cleansing ensures that we have grace to “go and sin no more”.
As believers, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, as our Helper and our Guide. If we allow Him, He will show us the heart of the Father and help us do the Father’s will. Even when we go on a frolick, He is available to guide us back to the right path. That way, our lives will be full of gratitude to God, instead of regrets. We will realise our mistakes and regret them. At the same time, we will be grateful for the access we have to God and the forgiveness He gives. Unlike man, when He forgives, He wipes the slate clean. He does not remember or hold it against us.
Yes, there will always be things we wished we did better or didn’t do at all. But at the end of it all, we will be grateful that God saw us through. The ability to lean on God through the daily activities of our lives, in the mundane things and in the important things; this is what will ensure that God has the final say in our lives and we will live lives that are pleasing to Him, bringing us to a life of no regrets.
Based on that assurance, we can expect to hear the other seven words, not of condemnation, but of pleasure. The words every Christian longs to hear: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21 KJV)