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09 July 2009

Regret

More often than not, the sentiments I hear on regret go something like this:

"I don't regret anything. Everything I've ever done / been through has taught me a great lesson, and therefore, I have no regrets."

By definition, to regret is
1) to feel sorrow or remorse for an act, fault, etc.
2) to think of with a sense of loss
.

When I look back over the course of my life, especially where I was about 10 years ago, I have a strong sense of regret. My heart is heavy with a sense of sorrow and remorse, even now. I hurt people. I did awful things that I knew would cause other people serious pain.

How can I now look at my actions and feel thankful for the "lesson" that was in it for me? That, to me, is even worse than the initial offense, which was grievous. How could I elevate some lesson over the pain I caused to someone else's heart. Who can say what difficulty they've had to endure because of my choices? Is any lesson ever worth that?

I should think not. Emphatically, I say no.

If I had it to do all over again, there are things I would do differently, and that, to me, is the essence of regret. I pray for the people that I hurt, so that their hearts can know healing and true peace... that their hearts can be healed from the pain I put there. Truly, I want it to be taken away and that they will know the love of God that is theirs in Christ Jesus.

And just for clarity's sake because I can already sense the direction of your comments, I am not talking about not being able to forgive myself or even making an effort to make restitution. I am satisfied, on both accounts, and yet, regret still remains.

So don't y'all go worrying ya little heads about me. I'm not sitting here in some depressed stupor. I just had a few thoughts on regret. That's all.

And I'm curious to know, what's your view on it?

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Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Good thoughts! Like you said, regret is different than guilt. Guilt keeps us from moving on, regret allows us to learn from our mistakes.

My list of regrets is quite long.

If one says they have no regrets, it's as if they're saying they didn't really make any huge mistakes because "it all worked out"...I think that's called "denial" ;)

"Rachel" said...

There are definitely things I've done that I wish I hadn't done (regret!!!). And there are definitely people I've hurt that I wish I hadn't hurt. I've had remorse and sought grace and made amends. The whole process.

I think however there is a difference between regretting an action (or actions) versus living in regret. I have a family member who regrets every decision she's made - not "bad" behaviors but where she went to college, what she majored in, who she married, what job she worked, how she raised her kids, etc. etc. etc. Truthfully she's miserable because she's constantly wishing she made difference choices instead of finding joy in the circumstances she has in life.

So I guess my feelings on regret are mixed. On the one hand I see how it can lead to repentance and healing. But on the other I see how it can hold a person in bondage as well.

I'm sure this didn't help at all. :) Sorry.

{Jodie} said...

You both make excellent points.

Sarah: I completely agree with your last statement, about denial. Fo sho.

Rachel: Absolutely. I hadn't considered the whole life of regret thing... I was more referring to a single action. I agree -- Regret can absolutely hold you in a life of bondage.

As for me, I don't live in bondage to that regret at all -- but I still feel the sting of it, and I wish I'd made a different choice, for the sake of the other person.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

I think some times our human mind is desperate to make "good" out of bad things that have happened, so we go there - to the place that says "Oh, there was a reason, I am better for lessons learned, It's all okay." It's our way of tying up with a pretty bow something that is messy and hard to understand.

I do it all the time.

And the truth is, you have an amazingly "real" perspective.

Sometimes it is just plain ugly. With no explanation. No good to find - other than God's comfort and healing hand.

Sometimes it's just regrettable.

Because we live in a fallen world - and have free will - and mes up.

Your perspectives are very interesting to me. Refreshing.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

I came over here all ready with a comment, and find that I cannot say anything more than you all have already said. Love Rachel's view on it. As always, you've given me a lot to think about!