"For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these,
'It might have been.'"
-John Greenleaf Whittier
Do you ever get in a funk and start bemoaning all the selfish decisions you've ever made? Regretting the bridges burned and relationships lost? Wonder 'what if...' ?
I often oscillate between blaming other people for all my problems and blaming myself for everything that's ever gone wrong. Sometimes I'm simply too focused on myself and I assume the world revolves around me, when obviously it does not. But other times, yes, it was me that hurt another. Sometimes badly. And this haunts me.
The Chronicles of Narnia have been a bit of the Gospel to me lately. In Prince Caspian, Lucy makes a fainthearted mistake and when she meets Aslan, she stutters about whether or not she is to blame. Aslan says nothing.
"You mean," said Lucy rather faintly, "that it would have turned out alright—somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?"When my mind is drowning in regrets, I have the opportunity to preach the Gospel... to myself. Because truthfully, for every situation in which I royally screwed up, there's another one that could have been broken beyond repair, but was redeemed instead. When given the opportunity to take control, I will fail every time. But God...
"To know what would have happened, child?" said Aslan. "No. Nobody is ever told that."
"Oh dear," said Lucy.
"But anyone can find out what will happen."
“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to . . . save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
“Their beauty shall be consumed in the grave . . . . But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave.” (Psalm 49:14-15)
“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard . . . the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
But God knows the larger picture of my life. Regardless of what mistakes I've made, I can honor Him by moving forward in the future without repeating the past. And by offering a few deserved apologies along the way.