I rejoice that my correction of you made you sad enough to repent. This godly sorrow produces a repentance without regret in that it results in salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:8–10
“Of all the words of tongue or pen, these are the saddest: It might have been.” Fortunately, God offers us a way to avoid such regret. He offers us a way to arrive at a future in which we will be able to say, “I’m glad I’m here!” To be sure, it is a way lubricated by tears, but it ends in joy. When we see the mistake of living in opposition to God, we should be sad. When we see the error of competing with our Creator, we should be sad. When we see the fallacy of relying on our own finite resources to produce the satisfying future we desire, the tears should fall. Grief over our arrogant foolishness is reasonable, for we see that such a way of living keeps us from experiencing the goodness of God’s grace. This godly grief moves us to repent, to abandon the pleasures that bring only temporary joy and promise eternal pain. It moves us to approach the pleasures that come from living in eternal fellowship with the Father and the Son and all of the other people who delight in them. We will never regret leaving behind pride in our position, our power, our possessions. Because forgiveness follows such God-centered and repentant grief, the joy of eternal life stretches out before us.
Thank you, Lord, for the joyful certainty that I will have no regrets if I turn toward you. Grant me grief over my disbelief in your wisdom and love. Amen.