Regret is a very depressing word. We all experience it. It comes from mistakes that we have made, but aren’t quite ready to own up to. Regret comes from not forgiving ourselves. It comes, and is relentless, as we attempt to change, but fall victim to our own impatience and feelings of unworthiness. Regret takes away all of our power.
We are not perfect beings. We live in a fallen world. We are spiritually dead (separated from the presence of our Heavenly Father), yet we have the gift of the Holy Ghost whose sole responsibility is to be with us to strengthen us enough to help us to Jesus’ feet.
That’s why we’re all here; to learn to depend on Jesus Christ, who will make us perfect. If we think, for a second, we can do it ourselves we’ll fail again and again. Failure makes Satan happy. I’m tired of making Satan happy and feeling miserable. I find myself making the same mistakes over and over again, feeling regret, and wanting to give up and throw in the towel. Carlos Santana, the guitarist, said, “Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims.” That word “victim” wakes me up. I do not like being a victim.
And we don’t have to be victims. Marvin J. Ashton said, “Arise from the dust and enjoy the fresh air of righteousness.” I can smell that fresh air in a statement like that. I can get up again, stop feeling sorry for myself, and keep trying.
I heard a story the other day that I recognize in my own life.
The story is about a young boy learning to farm. He is driving the plough for the first time across the field. It’s important that he make straight furrows, but sitting on top of the tractor, he can’t really see if they’re straight or not. His father told him to never look back, but to look straight ahead in order to stay straight, but he can’t help himself. In the middle of the field, he looks back and feels the wheel turn. He hurries to turn it back and settles back in his seat looking straight ahead. At the end of the row, his father is there waiting for him and he jumps out to join him. As they look down the rows together the boy sees that every row is straight except for that one place where he looked back. His father recites a scripture verse to him from Luke 9:62, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Then he sends the boy back out to “fix it.”
Howard W. Hunter gave a talk several years ago, saying,
“There is danger in looking backward. One must keep his eyes ahead to cut a straight furrow. When the plowman commences to look backward, he cuts a crooked furrow, and his work is spoiled. We cannot continue to walk forward when at the same time we are looking backward, the backward glance commences the backward turning, and may be the beginning of our disendowment in the kingdom of God” (Howard W. Hunter, “Put your Hand to the Plow, CR, Apr 1961).
Oh, to be humble enough to have the desire to run to fix it! With this attitude we can repent and make it right. Our effort to return to the Lord, asking for forgiveness and help, can make us fit for the kingdom.
We are so blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father who has created a plan for us to return back to Him. He knows we can’t return back without the help of His Only Perfect Son. But do we? Do we know that when we divert from the path we can go back and fix it by simply turning to the Savior and repenting? Do we know we can continue trying until we get it right? Do we really understand that we can place all of our regrets on our Redeemer’s shoulders, because He already took them upon Himself? It is simply for us to let them go. His grace is sufficient.
This earth life is our opportunity, and responsibility, to change and be changed. When mistakes happen, and they will, we can go back to fix them by Coming unto Christ. We don’t have to feel sorry for ourselves,
be victims, or feel hopeless. We have the power to try again and succeed with Christ’s help. Our righteous attempt will be a breath of fresh air to spur us onward and upward.
“O how great the holiness of our God!
“And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam” (2 Ne 9:20-21).