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.

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