Saturday, August 23, 2008

Regret

My neighbor, Mrs. Plex,  was telling me yesterday that my last two posts have really struck home with her.  She's a pre-school teacher, so appreciated what I said about he profession, and she also had a long relationship in her teeange years.  I don't know much about it, and it's not my story to tell, but I did tell her this, "I have a lot of regrets about my relationship with AC."  "I know exactly what you mean," she answered.

Now, there are many people in the world who don't like regrets.  Never admit they have any.  I don't know if they see it as a weakness or simply that they don't want to admit they were ever wrong, but I have plenty of regrets in my life.  PLENTY.  And you know what?  I'm thankful for them.  I'm thankful that I can look back on the youthful me and see feel regret that that I was foolish when I was...well, foolish. Those regrets help me to see how far I've come from those foolish days, how much the Holy Spirit has matured me, transformed me.  Regret is a holy help, I think. And I'm glad that I can look back to this morning with the Beve when I might have been a little short (and I don't mean physically--I'm always that!) with him, and have regrets about that.  Those regrets make me move. Move out of my snit and turn around and say I'm sorry.

Now don't get me wrong, when I speak of regret, I'm not talking about feeling guilty.  Guilt is a human emotion that Satan wants us to feel.  Those of us who are in Christ are freed from the guilt of our pasts.  Just yesterday LB and I were talking about how in the Chinese church she's been taught that even though Christ saved her, she's always punished when she does something wrong.  So she sinks deeply into guilt every time she makes a mistake, waiting for God to punish her.  It was a brand new idea to her that when Jesus died, He died for all her sins, yesterday, today and tomorrow. "He won't punish me?" she asked. "No," I said. "He punished Jesus on your behalf. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  "Why don't they understand this?" she asked me.  I don't know.  It's a cultural thing, I suppose.

Regret.  For what I did that I shouldn't have, and for what I should have that I didn't do.  Not to sink down into it and feel guilty, but to be convicted by my actions and inactions, changed by Him, made more into His likeness. Be thankful that He took my guilt, bore it to the cross.  As I told Ladybyrd, it isn't guilt that makes us want to live holy lives, it's love and gratitude.  How can we possibly thank Him enough for what He's done for us?  Love for such love as that overwhelms me.  Really it does.  It makes me want to please Him, like a child pleasing her Father. Yes, just like that. 

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