This post was contributed by Lindsay, Trustee at HBC
Regrets, I’ve had a few, sang Frank Sinatra – but then he did it “his way”.
A blog receiving attention from columnists recently is one by Dr. Bronnie Ware, who worked in palliative care for many years and spoke to many dying patients. She has shared what they told her and reports that the top five regrets of the dying are:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. (This was the most common regret of all.)
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. (This is a surprisingly common one.)
Dr Ware says “Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”
As a Christian, I thought “What will I regret on my deathbed, or what should I do more of now to avoid those regrets?” Surely I won’t ever regret not just pleasing myself or just seeking after fleeting happiness.
I’d agree with numbers two and four above, and possibly number three, but two major ones for me are:
- I wish I’d spent more time with the Lord in Bible Reading and Prayer.
- I wish I’d shared the joy of the Lord’s salvation with more people.
Of course as forgiven sinners we’ll always have regrets, and yet by God’s grace it’s never too late this side of heaven to work in certain areas in order to avoid the extent of these regrets!
But what of the non-Christian after death – a solemn regret will be “I wish I’d heeded the Gospel message!” – see for instance Jesus’ parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke 16:19-31. Indeed so many of the Lord’s parables speak on these matters, including The Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25:31-46.
I recall C T Studd’s words used as a refrain in his great poem: “Only one life – ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last”. Will you have any major regrets when you near the end of your life?
Photo Credit: © waxart – Fotolia.com