Recently I was with my family at a local high school football game. It was homecoming and the usual halftime festivities were going on. As the homecoming court was being introduced, each girl had given a quote to the question, “What advice would you give younger students?” Most of them had to do with something about “be yourself” or “try hard and you’ll succeed.” Typical stuff. But one quote struck me. A young girl’s answer to this question was:
“Never regret anything, because the first time you tried something, you really wanted it.”
My first thought was, okay is that Miss Teen South Carolina? (I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that!) No really, I thought, “What? What is she talking about?” The answer at first was so nonsensical, but then I thought she may be serious. Now, I mean no offense to this young lady, but think about it.
This is part of the problem with our culture. Its all about ME. It has nothing to do with is this right, wrong, good for me or others, but is it something I really want? If so, then I’ll never regret it, even if the consequences are negative.
- “I don’t regret that I got pregnant or got HIV because the first time I did that I really wanted it!”
- “I don’t regret having a drunk driving accident or becoming an alcoholic, because when I took that first drink I really wanted it!”
- “I don’t regret…you fill in the blank“
You get the idea. What a philosophy to live by! Now I know that this is wisdom from a 16 year old, but it is evident of how I think most people in our culture live their lives. Living for the moment, not ever thinking of the long or short term impact in has on our lives or the lives of others…or on our witness as a Christ follower. Is this a philosophy we want to live by or that we want our children to live by?
I can tell you there are a lot of things I did in the moment in my life and have regretted it. Regret is a good thing. Some may call it simply guilt. It helps us see that we don’t want to go there again. I think for a believer, it is prompting from the Holy Spirit: “This is an area you were never intended to go into. This is for your protection. Don’t go there again.”
Most of the things I regret have to do with my mouth. James talks about this in chapter three of his letter in the New Testament. Ever said anything you regret? Would you say you didn’t regret it because at the time you really wanted to say it? Most of us would say, no. Yet we live in and are raising our children in a culture that says, “No regrets! Live for the moment! Whatever you feel like at the time is good! Go for it, you know you really want it!” Kind of sounds like what the serpent said to Eve, doesn’t it?