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5 reasons why you should have regrets
Do you have regrets? Here is why that is a good thing. - photo by Kayla Lemmon
"Live your life with no regrets."

Actually, scratch that. I hope you have regrets. Lots of them.

Let me explain.

A while back I was talking to a teenager who had gotten too intimate too soon with a boyfriend who left her very shortly after. I had been her mentor for a long time, and she was a great girl but kept making the same choices that led to lots of heartbreak. Although tears filled her eyes and she was obviously hurt from the experiences, she kept saying to me, "I don't regret it, though."

"Why?" I asked. "Why wouldn't you regret falling into traps that take you away from your faith in God?"

"I don't regret anything I've ever done because it made me who I am today," she responded.

I've heard that response a lot. Although it seems like a wise notion, it isn't true.

Your mess-ups, your mistakes and your wrong turns didn't make you into who you are today.

It's what came after: the change, the people who came to your rescue, the creator who gave you yet another chance and used it all for goodthe regret.

It's only when we regret an action or a situation that we become better and don't fall back into the same traps. Without regret, we allow ourselves to be no greater than animals. We don't learn and become better.

Regret literally changes our lives.

It keeps us from making the same mistakes twice

Like I told the tear-filled girl who sat on my couch, change won't come until the regret does. The world tells us to not regret anything and be proud of all of our choices, yet the Lord says to confess our sins and come to Him so we can be cleansed of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We shouldn't dwell on the past, of course; but recognizing the error of our ways and regretting our actions will help us to not get the same scar twice.

It humbles us and reminds us of our weaknesses and our developed strengths

We aren't perfect. Far from it. Regretting certain things such as being unkind to a loved one or having pre-marital sex or doing whatever else doesn't line up with what we should be doing or what our morals are, just serve as a reminder of what we need to work on and what we need to stay away from in the future. With these things in our past, we can develop strengths, but only if we recognize that we need to change. Progressing toward a better version of YOU will only come when you see the things you need to change and when you take action.

It makes us better parents, teachers and leaders

What would we be teaching our children or the other people in our lives who look to us if we bragged about a horrible mistake? Some of the greatest lessons I learned from my parents came from stories of caution and experiences they had that brought them pain or sadness. They wanted to warn me against having to go through the same things. Because they recognized what they did shouldn't have happened, I ended up staying far away from those things.

It changes our perspectives

As you live and learn from mistakes and failures, the regrets you have will change the way you see yourself, the way you see others and the way you take advantage of doing the things that are right. You will judge others less, become kinder and really appreciate where you are in life and who you've become through the process.

It helps us recognize the need for a Savior

Whenever I hear someone say, "I have no regrets!" I wince a little. If we never had a need to be forgivenif none of our actions were sinfulthen why would there be a need for a Savior? Why did he have to suffer for all of our sins if those sins are actually all justified?

Regrets aren't bad. They're the realization that you can't make it alone.

And they're the reminder of why He came just for you.
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