Although I publicly claim not to be bothered by “regrets” since such is a waste of emotional energy, in my more reflective (and perhaps sadder) moments, I can’t help but both feel them within myself and notice them in others. I’m not talking about the “what-ifs” that most of us of a certain age now experience: what if I had answered the call to study law instead of theology or taken my dad’s advice and majored in chemistry which had been the love of my academic life in high school? Those are merely whimsical questions.
I wonder if we as a nation will ever even begin to regret the sins of slavery, racism and discrimination and their myriad offspring of hate-filled behaviors that truly infest us as a people – nationally and locally! I wonder if the world now regrets never having settled the issues on the Korean peninsula 60 years ago. I wonder if the world will someday truly regret having developed the technology for weapons of mass destruction. (I have always been struck by the response of the great Albert Einstein who, when asked if World War III will be fought with atomic weapons, stated that he did not know, but if it was, then he was absolutely certain that World War IV would be fought with sticks and rocks.)
Will we all regret that the modern world has allowed religious or political fanaticism to flourish or to have allowed our lifestyle choices to place the poor of this world in more environmental jeopardy than is ethically justifiable?
Maybe I have used the wrong term. It is not “regret” that I am examining. Maybe the word should be “repent!” Maybe “the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done and the evil done on our behalf” (to quote from Enriching Our Worship’s version of the Confession of Sin) need be on our plate all the time so that as we do repent of the wrongs we perform or allow, we return to our loving Father who offers us life in abundance. Modernity is so “enlightened” that it has no place for Christ. To have no place for Christ is to have no need of forgiveness – and to use a rather snarky but poignant quote: “so how’s that workin’ for you?”
We have no time because we are so busy – and even if we’re not so crude as to say it, we act as though we believe it. Will we or our children regret our choices and attitudes unless we do repent and seek to bring “the peace of Christ that passeth all understanding” back to our world? I pray we still have time to do so.