Tuesday, May 12, 2009


“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

Alexander Graham Bell quotes

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both.”

Soren Kierkegaard quotes

Accept the pain, cherish the joys, resolve the regrets; then can come the best of benedictions - "If I had my life to live over again, I'd do it all the same

Regret-Thesaurus entries

Regret is a very common emotional experience for most of us. I don't think many people would argue that statement. If that is the case, why is the term nearly absent from the Bible? Here is the one substantive quote regarding regret I could find:

2Co 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Why? Because regret is a hollow emotion. I would go farther and say it is a useless one. It is feeling sorrow for something one did, or failed to do, but without any sense of responsibility or guilt. Feeling that you didn't necessarily do something wrong, but that you could have done better or differently and brought about a more satisfactory result. That's an understandable feeling, but, what do you do with it? Regret comes after the fact, so you can't change the outcome. The incident is in the past, so you can't fix it.

Are you really feeling regret, or is it remorse? What's the difference you ask? Remorse includes with it the feeling of guilt and responsibility. That's a horse of a different color altogether. There is an entire chapter of the Old Testament dedicated to the expression of remorse (Lamentations). There are several other synonyms of regret that include guilt that are used profusely throughout the Bible.

So. If you did something wrong, sinned against God or another person and are remorseful, repent (see 2 Cor. above) and release yourself from your burden. If you didn't do anything wrong, then what? The only use for regret I can see is that it teaches us. Learn from it. Don't repeat your perceived failure. Grow from it. But stop punishing yourself for something you can't change, and resolve to do better next time.

Relationships, pt. 4 (final)


Job 5:2 For vexation killeth the foolish man, and jealousy slayeth the silly one.

Resentment is something that takes time to form in any relationship. It does not appear overnight. All it takes is one decision you didn't really agree with, one choice you feel your opinion wasn't taken into consideration for, or one time you failed to do something small. If that is left unchecked it will start to grow. The next time you aren't happy with something you will add it to the first one, tuck it away and save it for later. Much like the proverbial snow ball, this small annoyance can grow and grow until it is a huge impediment to any kind of honest and heartfelt communication. We are warned, "...that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled." Heb 12:15b This is so easy to let happen, to just ignore at the time of the perceived slight. But, buy the time it becomes evident that you have this mountain of resentment it becomes almost impossible to resolve it. It is a huge pile of so many small, petty, and by themselves almost insignificant things that you cannot untangle. You are just angry at all this "stuff" and when(or if) you try to explain it or seek redress you sound foolish because each individual thing is so petty. The only way to avoid this is to be aware of it, and don't let it get out of control.


The way you can stop it from getting out of control is by forgiving the other person. Think about the slight, really think about it. Is it worth destroying your relationship to hang on to? Probably not. It can be very helpful to tell the other person about it (later, not when you are still upset). Let them know how it made you feel, why you didn't like it, and how you would like do to things in the future. While you are at it, let them know that you have forgiven them and don't hold it against them (not necessarily in those words). Even if you can't bring yourself to speak to them about it, or if it seems too insignificant to bring up, you still need to honestly forgive them. Forgiveness to the point that you don't remember what was done a day or two later. Really forgive them and let it go.

I know this goes against human nature. Someone hurt you and you are going to forgive them and forget about it. Self sacrifice is involved in all substantive long term relationships. I know we all would like to be on the receiving end of the kind of forgiveness. How can you expect to get it if you don't give it?

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
Mohandas Gandhi

While this act may be far smaller in scale, it is essentially the same thing that Christ did on the cross. He forgave those who crucified him. He did it without them asking for it, without them apologizing, and he did it not expecting anything in return.