Regrets—do you have any? Is there anything you would like to do over so you could do it better? Is there anything you never got to do that you would like to have another chance at? Most of us do have regrets. In moments of pause for reflection, things we did, words spoken, opportunities missed and more, often haunt us. Maybe we would have furthered our education. Maybe we would have sought a promotion or a different job. Maybe we would have gone somewhere or not gone. Whatever the particulars, these things, when they pass through our minds, give us a feeling that is unpleasant. We call them regrets. Most of us have them. Some protest that they do not, but usually when you talk with them they do have regrets—they just choose not to dwell on them (or, sometimes, even to think of them).
Paul had what we might call regrets—I believe we see them in his life concerning his conduct prior to his conversion. He regretted opposing Jesus. He regretted persecuting the church. He regretted these things, but he did not allow them to prevent him from doing what he should do. That is the key—use the regrets you have to make you better, not as an excuse to avoid doing what you should do now. Hear Paul:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phlp. 3:13-14).
Why would he forget the things behind? They were to him the cause of regret. He forgot them—that is to say, he did not allow them to stand in the way of doing his duty. Regrets can lead us to further sin if we allow them. What about Judas? He regretted his prior act of betraying the Lord so much that he took his own life. If we are not careful, we will allow our regrets to lead us into sin or foolishness or behavior detrimental in whatever way. Learn from Paul to temper today and tomorrow with yesterday’s lessons, but to do today what should be done.