Frank wasn’t sleeping well lately. He had been fretting over something that he had done in his past. Something that, as he looks at it now, he wonders how he could have been so foolish (stupid). And the more he found himself putting things right with God after a long time away from faith and the church, the more the regrets of the past bothered him.
Because of this Frank kept rehashing past events in his mind and playing certain terrible scenes over and over again, wishing he could rewrite the script, change the things he had said and done—-change history. But he knew he couldn’t.
Regret over things of the past.
Not such a strange idea, I would think. All of us wish we could do certain things over again—-have another opportunity to say the right thing, have another chance to walk away from a situation, perhaps not let anger influence our decision-making, or let resentment make us want revenge of some sort.
Rather than live in the past filled with regret, Christ offers us a better way. And we are reminded of this today. We have all made mistakes but God doesn’t want to punish us for them. God wants us to learn from them and to “sin no more”. So, when thoughts of the past start to paralyze us, know that is not from God, and that is NOT why Christ went to the cross.
I have found these words to be very helpful when my thoughts start to get the better of me:
We have no hold on the past—-we can’t change the smallest bit of it. People sometimes try to relive past events considered failures but those imaginary scenarios are merely dreams: it is not possible to backtrack. The only free act we can make in regard to the past is to accept it (just as it was, as hard as that might be to do) and leave it trustingly in God’s hands.
We have very little hold on the future either. We can’t program life in advance, we can only receive it moment by moment. All we have is the present. HERE is the only place where we can make free acts. Only in the present moment are we truly in contact with REALITY.
For a person like Frank, and so many of us, we need to leave the regrets of the past at the foot of the cross. Picture yourself doing just that! We receive the healing grace of confession especially during this season of the year, and we trust that God will handle it.
Baruch, the prophet, in very beautiful language, reminds us that God is the one in charge. God is the one who makes things happen. “For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God”.
We are also asked to take comfort in the words of Isaiah in reference to John the Baptist: “The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth…” Think of your life as the winding road or the rough way. Then allow Jesus into the scene who will straighten things out and make the path smooth.