A few weeks back a friend of mine was asking me what it was like growing up in Nashua, NH. As I was sharing, I mentioned to her, "If I could go back, there are many things in my life I wish I could change..." She was shocked that those words came out of my mouth. When I asked her why she was so suprised, she stated, "I don't believe in having regrets... We learn from our past and it shapes us into who we are now." Just this morning I heard a similar statement in an interview on tv; this idea that to live with regrets is to live life carrying around needless weights.
While I agree that our past has the opportunity to teach and shape us, there are still things I wish I did and did not do from my past. For example, I knew fully well that how I treated this kid Matt was horribly wrong in the 5th grade. I believed that by embarassing Matt I would be viewed as the 'funny guy.' I did not need to have a revelation later on in life and realize, "Oh my goodness! So it IS wrong to humiliate others for my own benefit!" I knew what I was doing and I surely was not acting in ignorance. Or, how I shamelessly wasted all my money in high school and college on Applebee's and Chinese food when I knew full well I had student loans waiting for me but I chose to eat out multiple times a week and throw my money away. Or how I still cringe when I think of the awful things that I have said and done to my parents... And unfortunately, I could go on.
Perhaps living life with the mantra, "I have no regrets... My past and my mistakes made me into who I am today," helps us sleep a little better at night. In some ways it lets us off the hook. It is a statement that helps us to justify the past... Instead of trying to do that, may we realize that we do have legitimate regrets, but in the same breath, may we give glory and thanks to God that we are a people who have been extended the greatest mercy and grace that creation has ever known through Jesus Christ. And I would have to disagree with Mr. tv interview guy... regretting the things we have and have not done in life is not like carrying around needless weights, holding on to the guilt and shame is what weighs us down. It is ok to acknowledge our sin because our savior is greater.