“And also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.“ – Ephesians 6:19
If you had one month to live, do you think you would have any regrets when the 30 days were over? Probably not. But most of us live a whole lot longer than that so regrets are part of life. So often we wish we could do parts of life over. We wish those last words said in anger could be undone. We wish we had a second chance at that bad financial decision or relationship. It is normal to be held captive by regret for some of our actions and experiences.
As we grow older and more fully appreciate the mistakes we have made and the opportunities we have missed, the more there is usually to regret. Some of us hold onto deep and consuming regrets that burden our lives, cripple our relationships and hobble our future. What happens is that we often become risk averse. By not taking chances, by not putting ourselves out there, we believe we will face less regret later on. But is that true?
Will we deal with less regret down the road if we keep our relationship with God sanitary and safe? Will we experience less mistakes, less failures, if we don’t get involved or if we don’t push ourselves out of our comfort zone? Is it better if we stick to the knitting and mind our own business as a means of lowering the odds on regret?
To some that is the definition of a mature Christian. Mature Christians are the ones that “have it all together.” They dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Unfortunately, it is difficult to sit on the fence. We live in a troubled, often messed up world. As a Christian you can expect to get judged or criticized or even laughed at. Along the way we will shed some tears, make some mistakes, some minor some not so minor. But we always have God’s love.
We need to remember that God is not surprised by our mistakes. That does not mean we are freed from responsibility for our mistakes and sins. But God will turn your mistakes into part of His plan, into spiritual growth opportunities that can indeed turn out for good. (Romans 8.28)
What matters to God is a relationship…not performance. God knows we aren’t perfect, and He’s totally okay with it. Love is learned, and once learned, it is applied by an act of the will by the Christian who chooses to love others. Love is not easy, and at times it can be risky because we may be hurt. This is because the objects of our love can be offensive, and at times may harm us. Mature love overcomes the emotions to love others according to their needs. It is a matter of doing things for people out of compassion for their need, whether or not we feel personal affection for them or whether we are stepping out on a limb.
We need to stop living in fear of making mistakes, because we will make mistakes—period. And yes, those mistakes can turn to regret. God is not asking us to not make any mistakes. He’s calling us to be bold—fearless in approaching Him, in stepping out in faith, and in trusting Him to lead us.
- Are you a little gun shy about the future? If so, what is the first step you can take to change that?
- Are there areas of your life where the fear of mistakes or failure is the strongest? How would your life be different if you confronted those fears?
- How well do you handle failures and regret? What lessons have you learned from your past mistakes?
- What does God ultimately hold me responsible to do?
- Pray to God for wisdom to know when to step out and when not to.