I always find it interesting when people say they have no regrets. I have a ton of them. I have regrets from elementary school. In fact, I have regrets dating back almost as far as I can remember. I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve always made bad decisions, or if it’s because I’m just overly sensitive to my own mistakes.
Regardless, I regret having all these regrets. I just can’t help myself.
Allow me to give you an example. Did you ever know anyone that had a smart answer for everything? I don’t mean an intelligent answer. I mean a smart-mouthed, smart aleck type remark for everything (and I DO mean everything).
Did you ever regret not slapping someone in the face?
For example… If you called this person by their given name, their immediate comeback was, “That’s my name! Don’t wear it out!” Ask that person if they had a match, and their answer is, “Not since Superman.” The foulest part of their shtick was that they repeated these lines over and over again. Even worse, I always stepped into it (day after day).
I’ve had several people like that in my life. My big regret with them is never having slapped at least one of them in the face (one time would have sufficed). To show you what kind of guy I am, I regret having that regret. I really don’t want to slap anyone in the face (well, maybe in my dreams). What can you do with a guy like me?
Now that I think about it, I’m really jealous of you folks who don’t have any regrets. Now I regret that I’m jealous. See? It’s never ending.
Because of suffering this malady, I finally decided to check out the Bible to see if the Lord has anything to say about it. I figured a little Biblical wisdom was in order.
I went to a Bible program and typed in the word, “regret.” Lo and behold, it’s in there a bunch of times.
And get this! The first time it’s in there is right at the beginning—the sixth chapter of Genesis. As soon as I saw it, I figured I was not alone. Even in the earliest of times, people had regrets. But it was even better than that.
Genesis 6:6 records these words—“The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” I’m now shining my fingernails on my shirt saying, “At least I’m in good company.” Not only did God have a regret, he was deeply troubled by it. I have to say, that makes me feel really good. Even better—I don’t regret feeling good.
I looked further and found that the first four regrets in the Bible belong to the Lord. You can’t see it, but I’m pausing right here to smile. I’m really enjoying this.
I’m sure some of you are regretting taking the time to read this, but I don’t care. Awww nuts! Now I regret feeling that way.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]