We all have a past. We all have a story. Most of us want to be the hero of our story. However, if we take an honest look at who we are, what we’ve done, and what has happened one thing becomes clear – we aren’t the hero.
I don’t know anyone that has no regrets. I’m not talking about the kind of regret like, “I regret not going to Disney World last summer.” I’m talking about the, “I wish I wouldn’t have said / done that,” regret. I don’t think I want to know anyone that doesn’t have one of those regrets, because that means that person is either perfect or thinks of themselves as perfect.
The question that I think matters is this – what do we do with our regrets? How do we live with them? Regrets can drive us down into a hole and make us feel pretty bad about ourselves, or they can be a tool. Regrets, looked through the right lens, can lead us down a path of growth and reconciliation.
I have done things that hurt people. People have done things that hurt me. I regret some of my high school years. I was a confused teenager who wanted to be accepted. When I wasn’t accepted, I got angry. Looking back, I’d say I got scary angry. I said and wrote damaging, hurtful things. I regret that. However, it’s part of my story.
Paul wrote in a letter to the Ephesians, that if we bring our dark parts to the light, then we have fellowship (or friendship) with God and with one another. Even more, it we bring our darkness to the light, God can make that very darkness a light. We bring our dark parts to the light by talking about it. We have to talk about our regrets. We have to talk about those bits of our past and even our present that we don’t want other people to know.
Everyone has skeletons in their closet. To be healthy, and to be free from guilt and shame, we need to drag those skeletons out to someone and share them. No more hiding and hoping that no one finds out – there’s no freedom in that. In sharing our skeletons, we can truly feel known and at the same time, God can use our broken story to give hope to someone who has all but given up hope on themselves.
The only way for healing to happen is to face the terrible truth. Look at the regrets. Take them to God and to a trusted friend. Don’t keep hiding the skeletons.