Letting go of if onlys and regrets
Our lives are filled with if only and regret events. We are living in the results of the decisions we made in the past. While most of them are good for us, there are some which cause great harm and loads of regrets. We tell ourselves, “If only I had not done …..” or “If only I had done ….” The pain resulting in some of our past decisions lingers for a lifetime.
Choices are a free-will gift from God. He created us with the right of choice. We can choose to do good or evil. We can choose to do a lot or a little in life. Each choice has consequences, good or bad. Even little children have regrets and if only situations. A little hand reaching out to touch a hot stove, even though Mommy has told them not to touch it, soon brings regrets when little hands are burned and filled with pain. The biggest issue is not the fact we have regrets and if only moments. It is that we have to live with the consequences and learn from the mistakes we made in our choices.
As I get older, there are a lot of “I wish I had not done that” and “I wish I had done that” events in my life. I wish I had been more adventurous in my younger years instead of being so reserved and afraid of making mistakes. I also wish I had made wiser decisions over lots of past events. The point is, I didn’t do either in some events from my past. I am sure many of you can say the same. It is the past and cannot be changed. I can make some new choices now on how to deal with those past regrets and if only moments. I can choose to wallow in self-pity, punish myself for stupid mistakes, try to hide the past and never admit to anyone what I did, tell everyone all the time all the dumb things I did causing them to want to tell me, “GET OVER IT” Or I can choose to bring all that stuff to the Lord Jesus and let Him help me deal with it.
WHAT DOORS WILL WE CHOOSE TO OPEN?
The Bible has something to say about our past and how to deal with and how to pray about it.
Psalm 25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
Psalm 79:8 Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, For we have been brought very low.
Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 TLB Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour, remembering that there will also be many dark days And that most of what comes your way is smoke.
Psalm 119:89-95 TLB 89 Forever, O Lord, your Word stands firm in heaven. 90-91 Your faithfulness extends to every generation, like the earth you created; it endures by your decree, for everything serves your plans. 92 I would have despaired and perished unless your laws had been my deepest delight. 93 I will never lay aside your laws, for you have used them to restore my joy and health. 94 I am yours! Save me! For I have tried to live according to your desires. 95 Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind upon your promises.
LET US LOOK TO THE lORD for answers
Philippians 3:4-14 TLB 4 Yet if anyone ever had reason to hope that he could save himself, it would be I. If others could be saved by what they are, certainly I could! 5 For I went through the Jewish initiation ceremony when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish home that was a branch of the old original Benjamin family. So I was a real Jew if there ever was one! What’s more, I was a member of the Pharisees who demand the strictest obedience to every Jewish law and custom. 6 And sincere? Yes, so much so that I greatly persecuted the Church; and I tried to obey every Jewish rule and regulation right down to the very last point. 7 But all these things that I once thought very worthwhile—now I’ve thrown them all away so that I can put my trust and hope in Christ alone. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, 9 and become one with him, no longer counting on being saved by being good enough or by obeying God’s laws, but by trusting Christ to save me; for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith—counting on Christ alone. 10 Now I have given up everything else—I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with him. 11 So whatever it takes, I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead. 12 I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. 13 No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.
No More Looking Back!
As we can see in these Scriptures, mistakes are a part of the human condition. We all make foolish, selfish and ignorant mistakes in our lives. Some are fairly easy to live through and go on with life, others have long lasting results. But we can become like Paul, the Apostle, and put it all behind us. We can choose to ask God to forgive us, and also the persons we wronged if need be. We can learn from those past events and we can also forgive the person we were at the time. It is so easy to judge from a more mature place in life. We can see more clearly what should or should not have been done. Yet, when we made those decisions a lot of things surrounding us were involved. We may have panicked at a huge bill and charged everything instead of finding a way to earn more money for a season. We may have been angry at our friend, husband, wife, child….and let loose the frustration on them, causing great pain. The person we were at that time, made the decisions. We can’t judge ourselves from today’s life experience. We can only ask for forgiveness and forgive.
We may need to forgive someone who hurt us years ago and we still hold them in anger. The only person who is hurting is usually us. The person or persons may even be deceased, yet we still are in bitterness and regrets. Painful past memories can be healed by the Lord Jesus. We can release the past to where it belongs…in the past! We cannot change it, we can only learn to live with it and go on. So many people are crippled in their present lives because they cannot seem to forgive and forget the past.
Let us be like Paul the Apostle and choose to forget the past and press toward the future the Lord has personally designed for us. Though some things we will never be able to accomplish, there are so many we can do! We can have an exciting life following after the Lord. What will you choose to do with your if onlys and regrets? I pray you will be able to allow the Lord Jesus to heal them, forgive them and then forgive yourself and get ready for an exciting new life in Him.