I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:4
“If only . . .” is a haunting phrase. It implies that you failed and that you wish you could go back and do things differently.
When you dare to see the truth and accept responsibility for your life, you may feel sad and ashamed. You may regret your irresponsibility and destructive behavior, and wish to erase the past. The Bible is full of stories of regret. Take for example the Old Testament book of Zephaniah. The prophet Zephaniah condemned the idol worship and self-center living of the nation Judah. If only they had obeyed and trusted God instead of going their own way!
This book shows us how many of our troubles are a direct consequence of our irresponsibility. The nation Judah was irresponsible in her relationship with God. She worshiped false gods and ignored God’s laws, which were intended for her own good. But Zephaniah made it clear that their irresponsibility would carry heavy consequences.
With the help of Zephaniah and King Josiah the people confessed their sins, took responsibility for their lives, and turned back to God. As a result, they received substantial healing and restoration. When you are irresponsible in your relationship with God and others, your situation will grow progressively worse. The process of your spiritual renewal may start out painfully. When you confess the truth about yourself, it hurts. But as you begin to see the truth, speak the truth, and accept responsibility for your life, you’ll discover the great relief and hope that God offers.
– Steve Arterburn
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. – C.S. Lewis