Handling Regrets

Sunday, April 7, 2024
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour"1 (Lyrics)

It was gone. Now, I had to learn a lesson about handling regrets.

I thought about my now-gone treasure early one morning when a co-worker asked, "Have you ever regretted getting rid of something?"

I love antiques and have since I was young. No one else in my immediate family seemed to appreciate them, but somewhere along the way, I fell in love with them. So, as my extended family members aged and wanted to pass along some of their belongings, I snatched them up.

Among my treasures was a pocket watch that had belonged to my maternal grandfather, Pappy. The story about how he came to own it was that he offered the owner a .22 rifle in exchange, and the man accepted. From then on, Pappy proudly hung it daily from every pair of Dickie pants that he wore. He knew that I loved the watch. I didn't know it until after he died, but he had told my grandmother to give it to me. I was ecstatic. Mom bought me a small watch display case, and in every house that I lived in, I proudly displayed the treasure.

At one point, my wife and I opened an antique store in our home. Of course, we had many things that we marked NFS — not for sale — including Pappy's watch. But one customer wanted it. I resisted his offer initially, but, in a moment of stupidity, I agreed to sell it. I've regretted it ever since. I didn't know the customer's residence or name, so I could never contact him to offer to purchase it back.

Isaiah 43:18 – But forget all that — it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. (NLT)

I suppose that many Israelites regretted their wayward ways that led God's people into two exiles: first in the wilderness for 40 years after leaving Egypt, and later, 70 years in Babylon. But God told them to forget all about that misery. He had something better for them in the future.

My mom sees many items at thrift or antique stores that she had once sold at a yard sale. Like her and me, no doubt, all of us have regrets: bad choices that we made, relationships that we entered or ended, places that we left behind, things that we bought or sold, sins that we committed, people we hurt, times when we didn't obey what God wanted, opportunities that we let slip by.

Reflecting on such times is healthy. We can think of the lessons that we've learned. But we shouldn't live in that regret. Doing so will keep us from moving forward in relationships — with family, friends, and even God — and we'll find ourselves mentally and emotionally trapped.

I made a bad decision to sell a treasured family heirloom. I learned from it.

What essential life lessons have you learned from your regrets?

Prayer: Father, help us to learn from our regrets but not to live in them. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Enjoyed your message today.

    Good morning, Martin,
    Thank you for those wise words.

    Amen Martin.
    I’m sorry you sold the watch, which is now a hard pill to swallow.

    Thanks for the devotional. I had a pocket watch that my grandfather used on the trains. A young man robbed us one day and he took my pocket watch. At least you got something for yours. All the best. We have to give all this up one day anyway.

    Dear Martin,
    Thank you for today’s lesson. Whenever my mind starts wandering back into the past, I refocus my thoughts on Jesus and I am reminded of what he has done for me throughout my entire life.

    Thank you, Martin, for your very good words in your devotional today. I know how you feel being attached to items from the past as I have many items that were treasures of my parents years ago and my daughter is always telling me it is time to get rid of that “stuff”. To me however, it isn’t “stuff” but memorable keepsakes. It is different, however, if we hold regrets of something we have said or done to someone in the past and can’t change it now. I believe it is helpful if we take those regrets in prayer to our Lord and ask His forgiveness and promise to not do those things again. Our Lord is so deserving of our constant gratitude for guiding our behaviour. Blessings for your special writings.

    Amen to your prayer Martin. I really feel for you, but your regret has led to this reflection, which will help a lot of us to ‘move on’ and stop pining, or worse, beating myself up over regrettable words and deeds. It a dreadful ‘pit’. With God’s help, three days ago I accepted the Lord’s hand to get me out of that pit, and what a gift it is to have His hand of mercy still there, patiently and lovingly waiting all these years, for me to be ready to ask for and accept His help. It’s almost like pulling a child in a wagon only to find that the child has been dragging his feet – slowing down all forward progress!! May the Lord help us all to ‘wake up’ to our foot dragging, and to His waiting hand of help! Bless you for sharing so many memories – memories that have brought healing hope and help to so many others.

    Thanks, Martin. This hit home is many ways!

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today. To God be the glory! Blessings.

    Great devotional Martin a lot of good advice and much to ponder. Thank you!

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