Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
The word regret is defined as “a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.” We all know this feeling, don’t we? Sometimes we express regret over our actions from years ago, while other times we instantly regret the words that came out of our mouth. The tenth step of Alcoholics Anonymous states that we “continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” I think everyone can learn a bit from that step. As you lay in bed tonight, ask yourself if there was something you might have done differently (or said using other words), and then pray to God that He continues to chisel away at you tomorrow.
Perhaps the three most regrettable words in the English language are “I should have.”
- I should have told him I loved him before he died.
- I should have let her know how much she meant to me before she left.
- I hope he knows how much we appreciated his effort.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We live in a world where, in far too many cases, the only time we compliment someone is at his funeral. Why wait? What is holding us back? Are we worried that we will look weak or sound corny if we tell a friend, “I love you?” The sobering fact is that you never know when it will be the last time you’re going to talk to someone. There’s a reason Paul directs us to “not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Eph. 4:26).
Regret stems from resentment. Our resentments take us down the path of bitterness, which in turn leads us to say or do something we will soon regret. It’s inevitable. We’re human, and we rely on our emotions entirely too much. And because the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” we are susceptible to regret.
But don’t give in! Take one situation this week to use as an opportunity to defeat the enemy of regret. Tell mom or dad that you love them. Express appreciation toward that co-worker or friend. And as soon as those unfortunate words leave your mouth, acknowledge the error of your ways immediately.
In His Name,