Summary: Grace has the power to redeem regret

Title: Grace Greater Than Regret

Place: BLCC

Date: 1/14/18

Text: Matthew 26.31-35; Luke 22.61-62

CT: Grace has the power to redeem regret.

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FAS: Your biggest regret in life? If it's anything like these random New Yorkers, it has one very important word in it. Students from Strayer University set up a chalkboard on the sidewalk near Lieutenant Petrosino Square in New York City for one day. At the top of the board was written, "Write your biggest regret." They provided a supply of colored chalk and set up a video camera to record people writing on the board.

The chalkboard attracted many people walking by and was soon filled to overflowing with written regrets that were poignant and thought-provoking.

• Burning bridges

• Never speaking up

• Not being a good husband

• Should have spent more time with family

• Staying in my comfort zone

• Not saying "I love you"

• Never applying to med school

Not making the most of every day.

• Not being a better friend

As the board filled up with so many different stories, they noticed that almost all of these regrets had one thing in common. Nearly all of them involved the word "not." They were about chances not taken. They were about words not spoken. They were about dreams never pursued.

But then they gave these same people an eraser and wrote "Clean Slate" at the top of the chalkboard. As she erased her regret one young woman had tears in her eyes as she said, "I feel hopeful. It means that there are possibilities."

LS: In and through Christ we do have a clean slate. All of our sins and regrets have been washed away. (2) People you meet every day carry a weight of regrets normally hidden below the surface of their lives. They need to hear that they can find freedom in Christ.

Editor's Note: Watch the video here.

David Finch, Elk Grove, California; source: Jordan Zaslow, "We Asked People To Tell Us Their Biggest Regrets—But What They All Had In Common Was Heartbreaking," (1-25-16)

[Screen 1]

I am in my second sermon on grace. This week I am going to look at how grace is greater than our regrets. I really enjoy going with Mike Power and talking to the people at the homeless get together. I talk to them after I preach. I have learned that a lot of them are carrying a heavy weight of regret. It keeps them up at night. They even know that God has forgiven them but they constantly relive specific moments when they did something they never thought they would do and they are consumed by what it has done to them and the people they love. They say things like, “I know God has forgiven me, but I can’t help thinking how much different my life would be if I could go back and make another choice.” [Screen 2]

That is regret.

I would say that most of us can think of an hour or two—or maybe a decade or two—of our lives that we would give just about anything to have back. We have been called to pay the bill. It is more than we ever thought possible and we never thought about what others would have to pay as well.

When people talk about their regrets they typically begin the sentence with these words: If only I:

-I regret that I never saved any money and I’ll never be able to retire.

-I regret I never told you how I felt.

-I regret that I didn’t fight for us.

-I regret how much time I spent complaining and criticizing.

If we have any thing in common, it’s that we all have some regrets. We all have some things we would like to go back to and do differently.

A few years ago I was working on a big project for school. All of a sudden;

Something happened and all my work and research disappeared. I was in a panic. I called a friend who told me about MacBook and its “Time Machine”. Somehow, I assume through the combination of dark magic and a flux capacitor I was able to go back in time to before I had lost the material I needed. It was like it never happened.

Wouldn’t it be cool if God equipped every human with a “Time Machine” function? Maybe you could go back to before you said something mean to a friend. Maybe you could go back to before you had the affair. Maybe you could go back to before you had that first drink. Or maybe before you agreed to go on the first date. Or right before you walked into the abortion clinic.

You may not be locked up behind bars, but you may still be a prisoner. Most of us are desperate to be free from the guilt and regrets that imprison us.

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