The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all. (Ted Hughes…former Poet Laureate of Great Britain)
“Regret” may be the saddest word in the English language. It recognizes a decision, or series of decisions, that left an indelible mark on your soul. You were its perpetrator, or at least an accomplice. Then you became its victim. And not just you…there was collateral damage. Others were hurt with wounds that, like yours, never quite heal either.
Regret is a point of no return…unfixable. It is the anniversary date of something catastrophic, but without the mercy of coming around only once a year. And it all probably started with little things. Secret things. Perhaps things you weren’t even equipped at the time to handle. Anything from a ding to a collision that totaled the one, immaculate new life you drove off the showroom floor of your future dreams.
I don’t believe the fiction of a life lived without regrets. I believe we all have our unwanted posse of Dickens-like ghosts that follow us around, playing havoc with our happiness. But I don’t believe that our regrets are the same as God’s regrets.
What does God regret? I’m not sure we can even imagine what an important question that is. It has huge implications for how we understand our relationship with God. And discovering the answer to, “What does God regret?” may hold the key to dismissing the ghosts of guilt and shame that bind us to our past failures.
So here it is: My belief is that God regrets the justice and mercy we don’t do far more than the things we do wrong.
I agree with Bishop Desmond Tutu: We should all wonder at God’s marvelously low standards. That is not to say that He doesn’t care about our mistakes, our trespasses – our sins. It only acknowledges that they represent the indebtedness and currency of the Old Covenant. At best, these have value only as artifacts – interesting, important, and yes, regrettable – but Law and sin are no longer valid as tools of exchange.
The coin of the New Covenant is based on credits, not debits…acts of selfless love, not acts flowing from selfish ambition or reckless, immoral, thoughtless, hapless, immature decisions. It is on this newly balanced scale of justice that our relatedness to God is measured: I was thirsty. I was hungry. I was naked. I was a stranger. I was sick and in prison. And what did you do about it?
Beginning on Sunday, August 26th and concluding October 7th, you will be invited to join us for six weeks dedicated to “doing something about it.” For six special weeks we will challenge you; encourage you; inspire you to Make Justice Personal!
During these days we will be streaming messages asking you to join us in raising the support we need for another transitional living home in Moldova, a school in Brazil and a Life Skills Educator in South Africa. You will receive tweets – please re-tweet them…blogs – please forward them to your BFFs…video – please share to social media.
Make Justice Personal should be a time to celebrate! I pray it will be a time for you to embrace freedom from the regrets over damaged personal dreams through the joy of being a part of God’s big dream. That’s what matters to him folks. That’s all He chooses to remember. In some divinely profound way, it is the difference between eternal life and eternal regret: When did you Make Justice Personal?