As you will see in today’s video, chances not taken or dreams not chased often make up our regrets in life. Our heads spin with “what if” questions and “if only” hypotheses. But, are regrets simply supposed to plague us at night when we are trying to sleep? Or can they be transformed into something redemptive?
Let’s consider where regret begins. Most regrets on the chalkboard had a negative theme in common. It wasn’t that people tried and failed or had attempted to reach their dreams and found they really were meant for a different dream; it was the not trying, not doing, and not exploring that left people with regret. It doesn’t have to be like this!
Our regrets of omission may come from a fear of failure, a poor past experience, or another obstacle. These obstacles are our Goliaths, and in order to defeat a Goliath, you have to trust in God. You won’t regret it because you acted in full faith, and that is what matters most. The story of David and Goliath is not to tell you that David won, but to show you that David trusted God to make something triumphant out of a daunting situation. By trusting God, you can find a strength that is found this strong faith, not regret.
What if you already have regrets in your life? Those aren’t without hope. St. Paul calls us to persevere beyond our regrets: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).
Unlike simply erasing our regrets like words on a chalkboard, God can take those choices and make good from them in a way that you can see the good without the residue of regret. For example, Adam is guilty of arguably the biggest mistake of mankind–eating the forbidden fruit. It was regrettably wrong, but God’s response was to send his only Son into the world!
Generations and generations waited for the Messiah, and when Christ came, He was the “new Adam” sent to save us all. God can transform you into a “new you”–a forgiven and redeemed you. This “new you” will still be you, just without the regret and stains of sin. Without those negativities bogging you down, you’ll be closer to Christ, your Savior. If God can save us from Adam’s error, you can trust Him to help you, too.
“Oh, happy fault! Oh, necessary sin of Adam! That won for us so great a salvation!”
This Easter when we say this Easter Exultet, think of this newness. There is no regret from which God cannot free you. In confession, God forgives completely. You start new–a clean slate, without even the eraser marks or chalk dust–to face the world without regret keeping you up at night.
1. “Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer. Above all it is a ‘time of grace,’” Pope Francis addressed us on January 27, 2015. What can you do in this time of Lent to renew your relationship with God? (If you are reading this outside of the Lenten season, it’s still a good time to ask yourself this and have a mini-Lent between you can God!)
2. Consider David and Goliath, and reflect on your regrets on life. Are they from inaction? Are they from going against God’s Will? How can these turn into blessings?
3. How did you or could you help another person overcome regret? Does someone need your forgiveness for hurting you?
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Take some time to just be with God and consider the good He has made from any of your faults. Consider Adam’s “happy fault.” Perhaps consult a spiritual director to help you see the good God is making in your life, despite these negativities.
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