Have you ever heard the phrase, “I could’ve kicked myself!”? It’s a funny phrase, especially to visual people who can imagine what that would look like. It’s usually used when one regrets something they’ve done e.g. “I could’ve kicked myself for not getting that when it was on special!” or “I could’ve kicked myself for saying that!”
It’s actually really difficult to literally kick yourself, though. Reflexes kick in and you stop yourself before you get hurt (not that I’ve tried it).
Regret is a painful thing
All that aside, what this phrase is really talking about is ‘regret’. The Cambridge online dictionary defines regret as being ‘a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better.’
Often, we can say things that we wish we could take back. For instance, recently as I was taking some garlic bread my daughter had prepared from the oven, I joked about the multiple layers of foil wrapping saying, “Looks like they got the work-experience kid to wrap these!”
I’d assumed they had been pre-packaged, but I quickly realised I was mistaken when I saw my daughter’s look of shock followed by, “Mum! I wrapped those!”
Thankfully, we just laughed at my careless words, but it’s not always that easy. Sometimes what makes sense in our heads comes out of our mouths sounding very different.
Often we can find ourselves regretting unintentionally causing pain to a friend, be it through careless words, actions or even lack of action. Though causing pain wasn’t our intention, there’s many a time miscommunications occur and our words can be taken the wrong way.
This is something most of us have been guilty of at some point, and we need to be alert to the fact that the enemy loves to use these opportunities to cause division.
It’s very likely to be something that will happen many times in our lives. Inevitably, people will say things that might offend us, and we will say things that offend others whether we mean to or not. But, we can choose to be offended or we can choose to be forgiving—knowing that we ourselves have been guilty of the same.
Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verses 20-22 says: “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you — for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
The good news is that, though we may mentally beat ourselves up over regret, it’s not the end of the story. We may regret what we say and do, but God is quick to forgive and set us straight again.
As 2 Corinthians chapter 7 tells us, some sorrow is good for us: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.”
Sometimes regrets cause us to step up—step up in our character and to step up in our awareness. That’s when the pain of regret can turn into something very beautiful. We are continually being transformed into the likeness of Jesus and, through our imperfections, His light and glory is seen brighter.
We are weak, but His grace is strong in us and, as we carry the forgiveness of Christ, we in turn learn to forgive others, for we know we are all sinners who have been saved.
Romans chapter 3 verse 22 says, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Through each mistake, we grow more earnest in our desire to be better, to be more caring, and to be more thoughtful. And, we are renewed daily by the love of Christ.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
(Lamentations chapter 3 verses 22-23)
Rebecca and her husband, have four children and live on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Rebecca writes for various publications including print, online and commercial. She has recently published her first book titled ‘First to Forty’ which is available on Amazon and Kindle. For more information: http://www.rebeccamoore.life
Rebecca Moore's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-moore.html