Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Regrets? I've had a few

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret (2 Corinthians 7:10).

“Regrets?  I’ve had a few.” So go the lyrics to a famous song by Frank Sinatra.  As another year draws to a close, I’m sure you have some regrets that you’d like to put behind you.  Harsh words that caused damage to an important relationship.  A broken promise that caused someone to feel bitter disappointment with you.  A careless mistake that cost a whole lot of time and money to put right.  A carefully thought-out decision that turned out badly because of unexpected consequences. 

Looking back on 2013, I’m sure there are things that you wish could be undone.  Regrets?  You’ve got a few.  We all do.  We all behave badly. Sometimes we are impulsive when proceeding with caution is the better course; other times we drag our heels when decisive action is needed.  Sometimes we are brash in giving our personal opinions, as if there are no other valid viewpoints; other times we keep silent when a voice of reason needs to be heard.  We can be arrogant and pushy, shallow and wishy-washy, selfish and downright rude.  These kinds of behavior result in a lot of conflict, hurt feelings, and damaged relationships.  Regrets?  We’ve got plenty.

The nice thing about tomorrow is that the year gone by will be replaced with twelve months that are shiny and new, ripe with wonderful possibilities.  But we enter this promising New Year the same flawed individuals that made so many mistakes in 2013.  Why should we expect that 2014 will turn out any better for us? 

At New Year’s you need two things: release from regrets over past mistakes, and hope for the months ahead to go better.  These two things, freedom from guilt and hope for the future, can be yours.  The Lord God Almighty offers you these blessings through His Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus can take away regret by forgiving you and easing the pain of the people that you’ve hurt.  The Son of God can help you make better use of the months to come by teaching you how to replace selfishness with generosity, anger with peace, fear with confidence, and pride with humility.  Sure, you’ll still make mistakes, still cause aggravation and pain, but with Jesus’ help and forgiveness, the year ahead can be one that you’ll remember fondly when the next December 31st arrives.

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