Thinking about my own life and recent conversations, I realize that the older we get and the more of our life we can observe, the more regret or sorrow we may experience. For some, this sorrow develops into renewed desire and resolve. For others, this regret often develops into despair and resignation.
Most people try to mute sorrow’s voice, concerning certain aspects of their lives, with busyness and entertainment. They quote the verse, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Phil. 3:13) to justify their avoidance. The problem with denial is that the sorrow doesn’t go away and more significantly, nothing is gained from it.
Scripture says, “…Your sorrow made you change your lives. You became sad in the way God wanted you to…The kind of sorrow God wants makes people change their hearts and lives.” (2 Cor. 7:9, 10 NCV) “Godly sorrow” is a good thing, often offering the guidance we have been searching for concerning the direction of our life.
What have I felt sorrow or regret over?
I regret the amount of time I left Leigh alone with the kids when they were young as I traveled for my work.
I regret some of the things I did to “join in with the group” or be “one of the guys.”
I regret taking on another department with the departure of its director while my wife cautioned me about my workload and motives.
I regret the friendships I kept at a distance because of the way I let unresolved hurts and unhealed wounds define my “relational style”.
I regret the times I did not show-up, stand-up or speak up out of fear – and what it did to me.
I regret the times I acted out of anger, hurting my family, friends or co-workers.
These sorrows created fertile ground for growth and change in my life. I am much more aware of my motives and my heart’s reaction to circumstances. I am much more aware of my fears and their origins and can push through them more often. I understand the life of my heart more deeply, therefore I can more fully and quickly understand the heart of another. I am more aware of my truest desires for relationship, contribution and rhythm in life. I am less hasty and rash, understanding more deeply the potential effect of my words, tone and manner.
We must not avoid sorrow. To allow sorrow to help us rediscover our truest, most noble desires and to move to a new level of resolve is good…really good. We must enter into our sorrows, letting them reveal what must be repented of and healed, allowing them change our hearts and lives. Godly sorrow leads to life…more life.
“The way you find your self”, Oswald Chambers said, “is in the fires of sorrow…Sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness.”
Let’s walk together into the depths of our noble heart through the fires of sorrow,