I should have known what that would mean. With the now much higher deductible it was a foregone conclusion that this would be the year that the deductible would matter. Sure enough, Laurie had to have not one, but two surgeries with all the concomitant costs of doctor’s visits, tests and medications. The costs blasted past the deductible like a supersonic missile. Boy, do I regret that decision. It has cost us literally thousands of dollars.
Regrets are unpleasant. It’s painful and somewhat galling to know that you made a mistake that cannot be undone. I have occasionally encountered people who talk about living without regrets or claim to have no regrets about their lives. I suspect that those people are either arrogant or they are not being entirely honest with themselves. After all, to claim to regret nothing is to say you have never made a mistake, never made a bad decision, never failed when you could have succeeded, never done anything that injured yourself or someone else in a way that could have been avoided. At least for me it doesn’t take all that much reflection to come up with a laundry list of things I wish I could do over. Some of those things are of much greater importance than merely losing some money. It is also important for us to note that if we do not admit the things we regret we will miss out on the benefit that comes from them. It is through regrets that we often grown and learn.
The Bible is replete with people who had serious regrets. Joseph’s brothers came to regret their mistreatment of Joseph. David regretted the fling he had with Bathsheba and the subsequent shameful coverup. Peter regretted his denial of his Lord on the night Jesus was arrested. Paul deeply regretted his terrible persecution of the followers of Christ. What are we to do with regret? It is a painful thing for all of us, and for some people it can be devastating. However, it is not without remedy. As I mentioned before regret can have positive impact on us.
In dealing with regrets we must first take into account the grace of God. One beautiful aspect of the character of God is that he is able to forgive anything and redeem anything. He is able to somehow not only forgive us when we mess up but to somehow bring good out of it. So as God forgives us we must forgive ourselves for our regrettable foul-ups. After all, if a holy God is not going to hold it against us, who are we to disagree and hold it against ourselves?
Another thing that can help us is to grow from our regrets. God has something for us even in our failures. One of the things I have taken from my regrettable insurance choice is that while God wants us to be prudent, he is more concerned that we rely on his provision and rejoice in him. I have been reminded by this year’s events that God has plenty of money and will provide what I need. I don’t think he’s especially concerned with the money we have spent. So what I need to do is to trust in God’s provision for us, rest in that, and revel in his goodness to us. Whether we have a lot of money or a little, we have God’s presence with us and that is what matters most.
Another thing we can always take from our regrets is a deeper compassion for others who might fail in some way. Perhaps there is someone who has done something that has injured us. If we view their action through the lens of our own regrets that will make us more likely to have compassion for them, and that’s a good thing. There is no end of the lessons we can learn from mistakes we have made, even if we regret them. So the best thing we can do with our regrets is to admit them, not hide from them, trust God with them, and learn from them. Then, as Paul did, we can forget what lies behind and press on toward the goal (Philippians 3:13-14).