Regrets, left unchecked, can eventually lead to me feeling as though what I do or say has made no impact on this world. In the past, they always lead to using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain as well as wrestling with thoughts of suicide.
It is something that I must be on constant guard to prevent taking root in my heart.
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Instead, I have learned to walk by what I call “It’s A Wonderful Life Gospel”.
Simply put, I contradict thoughts of regret with realizing that with God;
“…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
And because of that, I am able to look back and rejoice to see how He will use it in my life. In other words; my life has purpose. (Yes, even when I sin and make a mess of my life).
I am of course referring to the beloved Christmas movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey.
As a young man, George had great ambition to travel the world and do great things. Instead, he took over his father’s loan office and stayed stuck in a small one-horse town.
In the movie, an angel is sent to earth to help George see that actually, his life had great impact and affected so many lives by showing him how they would be different if he was never there.
Clarence the angel told George Bailey in the movie; “Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?”
Our lives impact people not only in our lifetime, but beyond our lifetime as well. Many times stories in the Bible have impacted me and changed the course of my thoughts and thus affected my outcome. Words written about and by men and women thousands of years ago who even today still make a difference in this world.
The point is, we have no idea how significantly our lives affect others.
Also, aside from serving others, our lives should be viewed as a gift. We need to appreciate how blessed each of us already are. George was looking for something out there to the point that he couldn’t see just how good he really had it.
Clarence the angel told George Bailey in the movie; “You see George; you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?”
In the “It’s A Wonderful Life Gospel”, much time is devoted to pushing away regret by praise and thanksgiving. Regret is also pushed away as we let the Holy Spirit lead and guide us into all truth; including the reality that we belong to something much greater than just us.
It is pushed away when we realize that we belong to a loving Father who calls us children.
Clarence told George; “Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.”
If you struggle with regret for past mistakes, wrong use of time, etc. please let me give you some advice: STOP, because it will kill you and your dreams and push away friends and loved ones, and will eventually cost you your very soul.
Instead, go to the only One who can do something with what you regret; His name is Jesus Christ. He is longing for you to come to Him.
He is the same One who said;
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Mathew 11:28-30 MSG)
He also said;
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10 MSG)
He longs for you to live a wonderful life.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.