There is no one I know who has lived more than a few years who does not look back at something in life and regret a decision or action he or she made. And yet in most cases, life goes on, lessons are learned, and adjustments are made. Many times, grace is given and consequences are not as bad as they could have been.
Grace is a big word in Christian circles. Many churches have the word embedded in their formal name. I don’t know of a Christian church that does not have the concept of grace as a foundational core belief.
In the context of salvation or spending eternity with God in heaven vs. spending eternity in hell, grace is defined as the unmerited or undeserved favor of God to those who are under condemnation. This grace is received as one responds to the call to believe in Jesus Christ. No works or standards are required. Rather, faith that Jesus died as payment for sin evidenced by a repentant heart for one’s sin is all that is necessary. In a cost/benefit analysis, God’s grace means that we benefit at the cost Jesus paid for us.
Grace also plays a large role in our daily lives. I spent 26 years as a CPA. I was less than perfect and unfortunately some mistakes I made involved other people’s tax returns. I lived with the conviction that I admit my mistakes to my clients and not cover them or attempt to shift blame. In those years, I never lost a client because of a technical mistake that I or my staff made. That is grace, grace given me by customers who could have taken their work elsewhere.
Romans 8:28 says that for those who love God, all things work together for good. This means that even my mistakes and my shortcomings as well as my poor judgments and poor choices have potential of working out for my good, that is, if my heart has a love for God. This is grace that demonstrates itself in daily life, right here and now.
So when all is said and done, there are many things in life that work out in a manner that is better than we deserve. And for that, I am thankful.
We cannot avoid everything that could bring regret into our lives. We are less than perfect and we are learning, sometimes through our mistakes. Many times, the consequences for these mistakes could be so much worse and could bring results with that could haunt us for years. Yet they don’t.
Today let’s count our blessings. Consider the forgiveness received and the times others have let us off the hook. Also, let’s consider how we can extend grace to others in their short comings. As we do this together, we will live with far fewer regrets.