Summary: John Greenleaf whittler, one of our most astute poets, wrote: “For of all the sad words of tongue or pen, / The saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’”
TEXT: Malachi 2:13
TITLE: REGRETS & DECISIONS
Barry Levinson, a famous Hollywood director, took a chance many of his colleagues passed up. They thought the script about an autistic middle-aged man and his younger brother was too much of a drag for sophisticated American audiences. Levinson saw potential, thought. He liked the interaction between the brothers. With the able assistance of actors Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, Levinson crafted a beautiful tale of humor and drama. Hoffman’s classic depiction of Raymond Babbitt won him an Academy Award. The film Rain Man went on to gross over five hundred million dollars. Talk about regrets! I’m sure there was a handful of directors and producers who wish they had that script back.
Some time ago, MGM executive Irving Thalberg told Louis B. Mayer, “No Civil War picture ever made a nickel.” One “Gone With the Wind later proved him wrong.
John Greenleaf whittler, one of our most astute poets, wrote: “For of all the sad words of tongue or pen, / The saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’” That’s what regret is all about. The world is full of people who regret having thoughtlessly chosen (decided wrongly) the wrong path. Life is a series of forks in the road; it is a series of decisions, some more important than others, of course. But the choices are up to us. And the consequences of those choices belong to us also.
Like it or not you are faced with decisions everyday. They come in all shapes and sizes:
*How do you want your eggs?
*Should I wear a jacket today?
*What do I want out of life?
*Who should I vote for?
*Should I get married?
*Do we want Children?
*Do I want ice cream?
*Vanilla or chocolate?
*Should I go on to college?
*Should I take this job or not?
So many decisions, we sometimes feel like we are on a merry-go-round. Our head is spinning with decisions. Now that you have reached a milestone by graduating you have even more decisions to make.
For you that are graduating from high school your decisions become very important. You now enter into a new realm; your parents won’t be making most of your decisions now.
You that have graduated from higher institutions of learning must now decide what you are going to do with your higher education, how you can best put to use what you have learned.
What you need to be concerned about is to be careful about your decisions so that you want have a life full of regrets. You don’t want a life of unhappiness because of the decisions you have made.
Let me hasten on to say that I don’t know one person who hasn’t made at least one blunder that resulted in personal regret. Each of us can look back on an event we’d like to do over. That is just a part of being human.
Even Bible heroes made some bad decisions that resulted in regret. The apostle Paul had painful memories of watching Stephen crumple beneath the vicious stoning that took his life. It was Paul—as Saul the persecutor—who had held the killers’ coats. Though he was later a magnificent servant of Jesus Christ, he often recalled his former days as a tormentor of Christians.
There are many others: Sarah who laughed at God’s promises. What about Elijah who defeated the prophets of Baal and then decided to run from Jezebel. Then there is King David, who committed adultery with Bathsheba, that was a bad decision and then he made another one when he had her husband killed. Remember Lot who wasted precious years living in Sodom. And what about Peter, who denied the Savior at the hour of his crucifixion. The line of regretters goes back to Adam, who disobeyed the one simple command God gave him.
Malachi observed the agony of regret, the absolute remorse of an entire people who had lost their way. His words have a familiar ring to all us travelers who walk the road of grace in a broken world: (read text). There’s no pain so intense as feeling God’s disappointment and of wishing you could turn back the clock. Here are some truths that will help you in making decisions and in having fewer regrets:
Seek God’s Will. Proverbs 3:5,6 – “(5) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: (6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Solomon said, “Acknowledge Him [the Lord].” That doesn’t mean give him an afterthought. Nor does it mean pretend to ask his opinion. “With all your heart” ought to give you a keen insight into Solomon’s instructions.
The greatest resource available to those in the valley of decision is the Lord.