The other day my husband and I parked by an expensive convertible sports car. On it was a sticker that stated, “My Life My Way.” Of course, it brought to mind Frank Sinatra and how he proclaimed about his life, “I did it my way.” You may be surprised to know that I envy Frank. No, I don’t want to live my life my way, because I know that would lead to disaster. I want to live God’s way. Sinatra, however, goes on to say something that I envy….”Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few too mention.”
I am unable to truthfully share such sentiments as Frank expressed. There are many choices I wish I had made differently–words I should or shouldn’t have used, actions I should or shouldn’t have taken, in each case doing the exact opposite of what God would have had me to do. They lie in the past unchangeable, indelible.
Recently I posted about how Peter’s faith in the midst of fear allowed him to walk on water. Tonight, though, I want to bring up something very different about him. Peter made regretful choices. Having sworn his undying allegiance to Jesus, Peter nonetheless, driven by fear, denied knowing Jesus three times following Christ’s arrest. Jesus had foretold he would do this, but Peter couldn’t fathom choosing so poorly in light of his devotion and love for the Messiah. Matthew 26 tells us that just as he realized he had done exactly as Jesus had prophesied, he went out and wept bitterly.
Have you ever wept bitterly over your own actions? Have you done so as a believer who, in spite of knowing Christ and his mercy, defied his will for your life? I have. I can relate to Peter. But here’s the question? What do we do with our regrets?
If we are like Sinatra, we can minimize them. We can push them aside and focus on better things. As Christians, however, we don’t have that liberty. Rebellion against God brings anguish and consequences into our lives. We feel the distance it creates between us and God. We REGRET our regrets. But what do we do with them?
As it turns out, Peter’s denial of Christ came in the days after the Passover and prior to Christ’s crucifixion. We are in those very days right now. On Friday of this Holy Week, we recognize the Christ who bore our sins on the Cross. Every wrong choice, every word spoken in anger, every act of mercy withheld, he bore. Every lie, immoral act, murder, or hateful deed we would someday carry out, were inflicted upon him in the form of torture unto death. Jesus gave himself up for us on a cross precisely because we are unable to live regret-free lives. He who had committed no sin died for those who could not keep from it. This, Christian, is where we place our regrets. We ask forgiveness, yes, and then we lay them down at the Cross where Jesus died that we might be free of them.