One sure thing about life is that we will face opposition. We’ll be confronted with our own failings and shortcomings. We’ll be forced to decide how to respond to our regrets.
I love how, each time I read through the Bible, God brings different things alive in my heart. As I read through 2 Samuel, I gleaned insights about David. After his mistake with Bathsheba, God brought many consequences into his life. I was reading 2 Samuel 15 about how David’s son, Absalom, attempted to overtake the kingdom. Animosity toward his father had built in his heart for years (read 2 Samuel 13-16). Some would say he was justified in his anger toward David.
Absalom was never a watch-and-see kind of man. He was a planner. A do-er. When the opportunity arose, he stole the hearts of Israel by ingratiating himself with the commoners who came to King David for counsel.
And he built his influence and power.
Absalom gathered many men to himself and had them declare him as king. When David heard this he raced into survival mode. David chose to flee, as he had when Saul wanted to take his life.
Only this time, he had many more people to care for. Wives, children, servants, those faithful to him. And soldiers.
It’s hard to flee when one has so many obligations.
I wonder if flight was God’s primary plan for David . . . ?
There are times when we must flee. But we can never run unhindered. We still have responsibilities. People we must care for. Commitments to uphold.
We can’t just run away.
Often, when trying to avoid our own regrets, we come face-to-face with them. Though David probably regretted how he handled situations with Absalom and his brother Amnon, he didn’t make changes to rectify what he’d done. Or not done.
As Absalom grew in influence among the people of Israel, God confronted David with his decisions regarding these two sons.
We all live with some regrets.
The question is, will we allow our regrets to haunt every moment? Will we permit them to drive us toward certain decisions to avoid facing our mistakes?
We can’t change some situations in our lives. We can dwell on them and let the regret eat us up from the inside out.
Or, we can own the responsibility for the choices we made and trust that God both knows our hearts and offers us His mercy.
Sometimes, God allows regret to motivate us to humble ourselves and make things right with the other person.
We may or may not be able to change their mind or right the situation. But when we’ve done what we can to reconcile our wrongs, regret loses its power over us.
On occasion, we may be called to run. But often, we must come to terms with our regret and relinquish it to the Lord. We must ask for His help and mercy so regret doesn’t continue to influence our thoughts, our decisions, our hearts.
David had a valid reason to run from his son. It’s possible Absalom would have killed him. He had the numbers of followers on his side.
But God . . .
God knows His plans for each of us. He knows we’re going to blow it sometimes (or maybe a lot of times). But what will we do after we mess up?
When we come to the Lord with our mistakes, He can work in our hearts, gift us with His mercy, and renew our hearts toward Him.
Running is rarely the best way to handle a situation. If it’s been our modus operandi in the past, maybe we need to consult God about how to deal with the present situation. When we ask for His wisdom, He says He’ll give it if we ask in faith without doubting.
As for David, Absalom did all he could to usurp his father. In the end, though, he made choices that led to his murder. David regained the throne, even as he grieved the death of his son. I’ve always wondered if he grieved so deeply because there was so much left undone between him and Absalom.
I sometimes say my goal is to live life with no regrets. The only way to do this is to be authentic before my Lord, humble in my actions, and to seek Him in all I do.
What about you? How have you responded to regrets in your life? How do you come to terms with regrets?