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No Regrets

by Kathleen Whitten

 

Four years ago at this time of year I was diagnosed with leukemia. A lot goes through a person’s mind at such a time. One of the things that many people think about is regrets.

A long time ago I decided that I wanted to live a life of “No Regrets.” Like everyone, I have things in my life that I have said wrong, done wrong and thought wrong.

But thankfully, God offers all of us the opportunity to live a life of “No Regrets!” How?

First, we must believe Romans 8:28 is true: “All things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” God is telling us that He will even work our mistakes for good if we love Him and are called by Him.

One young person who had come from a difficult home life once told me, “My parents should have never married.”

I waited for a minute before asking her, “Are you adopted?”

“No,” she replied.

“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” I said. A slow grin spread across her face as she realized that without her parent’s “mistake of a relationship” (her opinion) she would not even exist.

If we believe and trust God then we can know for sure
that He will take every mistake, every sin, and every mess and work it for our good.

Secondly, in order to live a life of “No Regrets” we must receive God’s forgiveness. And after He forgives us, we need to forgive ourselves and others.

I have come to believe that the mistakes that I have made (which are many) can either be stepping stones or stumbling blocks in my life. If I DO NOT ask God to forgive me, receive that forgiveness, and forgive myself and others, then that “mess” will forever be a stumbling block in my life. It will “trip me up” in other relationships, it will cause me further pain, and it will keep me from “walking” in the path that I am called.

But if I forgive and receive forgiveness then the “mistake” or “mess” can become a stepping stone in my life. A stepping stone can be sharp or even slippery, but when you are hiking to higher ground then it becomes the very platform or “footing” that you use to move to a higher place.

Spiritually speaking, most Christians want to walk in the ways of God and move from “glory to glory.” Moving to higher ground means we are moving to a “better place” spiritually - and are therefore more able to love, forgive, and walk out this life on His good path!

One speaker recently said that “we enjoy in the good times what we learned in the hard times.” I am a strong proponent that success can be built upon learning from failures.

What mistakes have you made? Do you believe that God can work them for good in your life? Have you received His forgiveness for your mistakes? Have you forgiven yourself and others?

Do you view these mistakes as stumbling blocks
or stepping stones?

No Regrets also means Living and Loving God’s way. What is God’s way?

In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus tells us to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

God’s greatest commandment isn’t: “Figure out the right answers to everything.” When we go to heaven, Jesus isn’t going to say, “Your interpretation of scriptures was really off...”

We pray that He says to us: “Well done good and faithful servant. You loved the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and you loved your neighbor as yourself.”

We need to put first things first. When my young daughter goes to bed I tell her to do two things: put on her pajamas and brush her teeth. I am not pleased when I go into her room to read a story and she has finished coloring her child’s menu from the restaurant, spent fifteen minutes picking a half-eaten lollipop off the sock she had hidden it in, brushed her Barbie’s hair, and straightened up her line of stuffed animals across the bed.

I ask her: “Did you do the two things that I asked for you to do?”

And she says, “No, but I picked the candy out of my sock, moved my stuffed animals, brushed my Barbie’s hair and colored.”

And although these are good things to do, I am not pleased because she left undone the two important things that I told her to do first!!

Many people try to do many things FOR God,
but leave undone the few things that He said to do FIRST!

Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

It is so easy to put a lot of other “good” activities in the place of our Father’s two most important things - loving God and others. It is also easy to feel that because we are not doing “bad things” (gossiping, drugs, lying, cheating, stealing, etc) that we are doing the right things!

Perhaps this gives us a different picture of Matthew 7:13, 14. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

The wide road is a lot like my daughter’s room. There are so many other things to do besides what I have told her to do.

Maybe in today’s terms the wide road could be the “Whole Highway” of life and the narrow road could be the “Main Lane” of loving God and loving others. The tough thing about staying in the “Main Lane” is that there are so many other lanes (good and bad) that we can move over and drive in!

But a life of “No Regrets” means we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind, and we love our neighbor as ourselves BEFORE we even THINK about changing lanes!

A life of “No Regrets”
means putting first things first!

How do we choose to Love God and Love others?

Some of the dearest reflections of my life are the times when I have taken the opportunity to love others. When my daughter was two I told her that I loved her and we could do anything that she wanted to do that afternoon. She sat in her car seat swinging her little pudgy two-year-old legs while she was thinking. Finally she said, “I wanna go home and make some bacon.”

“Bacon?” I questioned, “Did you say you want to go home and make bacon?”

“Yep,” she nodded. And we did. We ate bacon together and my daughter felt loved.

When we go to heaven, I do not believe that God will ask us what committee we chaired, what Bible study we ran, or what doctrinal argument we won. I believe that GOD WILL ASK US IF WE LOVED.

Living a life of “No Regrets” is not a complicated life but a life that takes the opportunity to love others - especially those in our family. I personally believe that it is easier to argue the truth than it is to live the truth. And it is easier to live the truth with others than with our own family.

Living the truth can mean calling the lonely relative who is negative about everything but needs our love. Living the truth means not having to win the argument with our parents. Living the truth can mean fishing with little brother - even if you hate worms - because it is a good time to talk. Living the truth can mean shopping for just the right shade of a pink lip gloss with your good friend if it means something to her. Living the truth can mean spending time with your grandparents when you could be with your friends. And living the truth can mean eating bacon with a two-year-old.

And finally and most importantly, “No Regrets” means loving God and His Son!

My second month in the hospital I became friends with a male nurse named Lee* (*name has been changed). Because of his beard and many tattoos, Lee might first appear to be “rough character” - but he had a heart of gold.

You see, Lee was a new Daddy. He was so proud of his little boy. Every day he showed me pictures of his little son. Every day he related stories of the latest things that his son was doing.

Lee saw me studying my Bible one day and he asked me a question.

“I see you reading the Bible every day and listening to God songs and praying and stuff and I have a question,” Lee said nearing the foot of my bed.

“Shoot,” I said putting down my pen.

“OK, I believe in God and everything and there is even enough historical evidence to where I believe that Jesus is God’s Son. But here’s the deal: Why do you have to believe in Jesus and ‘accept Him’ or whatever to get to God? Why do I have to ask Jesus into my heart too?”

My heart quickened as God gave me the answer for Lee.

“Lee, imagine that I invited you over to my house and you brought your son. When I met you at my door I greeted you and told you go come in but I told you that your son had to wait outside - that he was not welcome. What would you say?”

Without hesitation Lee said, “I would have to say that if my son is not welcome then I am not welcome either.”

I choked on the next words, seeing the beautiful picture that God had orchestrated just for Lee. “That’s what God said, Lee. That’s what God said.”

If my SON is not welcome then I am not either.

The next few minutes were a miraculous whirlwind as Lee bowed his head and asked Jesus to come into his heart. And although it had nothing to do with me, I realized that choosing to love God with all my heart and soul and mind had not only made my life a life of “No Regrets” but it had touched the life of another.

Pray:

Dear God, I want to live a life of “No Regrets.” Please forgive me for my mistakes, my sins, and my messes.

Please forgive me specifically for ____________. With God’s help, I choose to forgive myself for _____________. With God’s help, I choose to forgive others for _______________.

God, please use every mistake that I have made and every sin I have committed and every mess that I have created and every hurt that I have endured as a stepping stone to bring me to a higher place with You.

Father, teach me to love You and to love others. Show me how to better love my own family and those nearest to me. Show me how I can love others not only through You, but TO YOU!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Believe:

Romans 8:28 “All things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Matthew 7:13, 14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”


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