There is a Travel Advisory being offered this morning for all those trekking down the Straight and Narrow Highway. (Matthew 7:13-14) Watch for the street signs, What If, If Only and What Might Have Been. They are dangerous streets for a Christian to follow!
Getting onto them is easy, you don’t really make a turn or notice the road forks and leads you off track, it just seems to happen. You find yourself with your eyes off Jesus, neglect the road map and start remembering and questioning.
How different would my life be if I had made different, (though perhaps debatable if better), decisions?
Or if others had chosen differently?
Would I exist? Should I exist?
Could I have been someone else’s daughter?
Someone else’s wife? Mother? Friend?
If I hadn’t done this, or had done that would life be better, stronger, surer? Would I have been more content?
Would my wife have left me if I made more money?
If I had lost five more pounds would my husband have stayed?
What if we’d had a baby?
If only I’d been better at this or less concerned about that…
What might have been different if I had decided to go left instead of right?
What might have been?
Dangerous road signs to follow for they lead to the Valley of Regret, which is different from the Avenue of Remorse. Remorse is feeling sorry for things you’ve done or said or left undone or unsaid that hurt someone else or yourself which hurts God and you follow the Avenue of Remorse to Repentance Station. But you arrive in the Valley of Regret via the streets of What If, If Only and What Might Have Been. Altogether different destinations.
Once you begin down these streets it is hard to put the brakes on and make a U-turn, or get off at the next exit and get back onto the Straight and Narrow Highway. Soon you find yourself living in the Valley of Regret and that doing so has squashed all the joy and pleasure out of what IS your life.
God is not a God of regret for if He were His Word would not tell us our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) He’d be a God who hammered us with our mistakes, bad decisions, and if only’s until our lives with Him were miserable.
Living with a God such as that would be depressing and destructive to our esteem, heart and soul. Yet many of us CHOOSE this type God every single day. We refuse to forgive ourselves for stupid and costly choices so we base our spiritual life with a God who does the same. A God we make Him to be in our minds because we regret.
Sure we pray for forgiveness, forgiveness is available, God forgives anything but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, (Mark 3:29, Luke 12:10) but we never let it go. Hence we live our lives miserably wondering “what might have been”.
For what end? Can we change what is for what might have been? No. Even if we could, would we really want to?
Not if we are living our lives under God’s grace and trusting He will keep His promise to use ALL THINGS for good for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) Every experience in our lives has made us who we are, and regret changes nothing.
Now some of us are considerably more battle scarred than others. Some of us have known terrors, devastation and heartbreak that others can’t fathom. Some of us made decisions that ravaged someone else’s life. Yet it is, it is who we are, it is who God forgives and frees from the guilt of our sin without removing the consequences.
Consequences are most likely what we regret, wish could be undone, wish with God’s forgiveness came a clean slate not only with Him but with everyone we’ve hurt, including ourselves. That just isn’t how God works.
Eve and Adam decided to eat the forbidden fruit and consequences existed for them and us to this day. God still forgave them. (Genesis 3)
Sarah laughed at God for telling Abraham she would bear a son when she was way beyond the age to bear children. God forgave her. (Genesis 18:12)
Peter denied knowing Jesus three times in what was most likely the longest night of his life. Jesus forgave him. (John 18:15-18, 25-27, 21:15-25)
I am often hard headed, strong willed, determined to do what I know is wrong and God forgives me. Yet consequences remain.
What Might Have Been should not be a road I choose to travel. The Valley of Regret not a place I choose to dwell. Neither are they for you.
I am who I am by the grace of God, and I am trusting always He will use all of my life for my good in His time. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Regretful? Miserable over wishing you could undo, redo, erase, insert something in your life or delete something else? Have you taken it to God? Has He forgiven you? Let it go!
If you’ve wronged someone have you asked their forgiveness? Have you done everything you can to make it right? Let it go!
Otherwise then this becomes another “if only” or” what might have been”! Choose the Straight and Narrow Highway for it is paved with God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace!
Travel wise my friends!