If Only…

How many times have you said “If only…“? We are fallible human-beings, and we all make mistakes. Yes, that includes me, and I have made some whoppers. We are also expert “Monday-morning quarterbacks“. “Hind-sight is 20-20” is another one of our favorite phrases. As we look back at the carnage our mistakes have wrought, we often say “If only I had done _________“, the results would have been different. Does this ring a bell?

The problem…
The problem is that we can’t turn back the clock or roll back the calendar. What we have done is already done, and we can’t undo it. I have “If only’s” that go back over forty years…things that I am still paying the piper for today, but I can’t undo what I did back then. We can’t change it, nor can we change the result, but our stubborn refusal to let it go can and will steal our peace, both now and in the future.

How many times have you made a mistake, and RESOLVED to NOT make THAT mistake again? Yes, my hand is in the air also. How many times has that RESOLVE disappeared into a cloud of mist…and you did it again? Yes, my hand is in the air also. I have done that MANY times.

“New Year’s resolutions”…
What do we base our “New Year’s Resolutions” on? If you are like me, they are based on our failings of the past. We must keep reminding ourselves of our past failings by RESOLVING to do better. That is what a “Resolution” is. Does that sound familiar? “I screwed up in the past, so I am going to…” Does THAT sound familiar?

Ball and chain…
How would you like to drag a ball and chain around with you 24/7/365? I still remember the days of the “chaingangs“, prisoners who were taken to do work along the sides of a road, and then tethered to a heavy ball by a short chain attached to their leg. They couldn’t go very far without carrying the heavy ball, and they certainly couldn’t run. They could still do some work, but only within the confines of the length of that chain. They certainly were NOT free. Chain-gangs have been outlawed in many parts of this country for being “cruel and inhumane punishment“, but at least those prisoners were working for their keep, rather than living in “Cross-bar-Hiltons“.

If only…” invokes the image of a ball and chain, because we are so enslaved by our past that we can’t even live in the present. Some people, myself included, are dragging many balls and chains around, in the form of unresolved “If only…”s. The difference between us and those prisoners is that we hold the keys to all of those locks securing all of our balls and chains. They didn’t. Only the guards had those keys. Are we our own worst “guard“?

“Prison-cells” of regret…
Some of us not only refuse to unlock those chains and balls of “If only…”s, we also lock ourselves away in “prison-cells” of regrets. Could that be because of the mistaken-notion that if we force ourselves to do enough “hard-time“, we may be able to “atone” for some of our past mistakes? We may allow ourselves some reprieve once in a while, as if it is for our “good behavior“, but we can’t let ourselves become too comfortable on the outside. Can you relate to that?

We can fly…
If you tried to fly while still attached to a ball and chain, you would fall flat on your face at the end of the chain, but what if you unlocked the chain? I saw a video recently of a man in a wing-suit soaring effortlessly over a variety of beautiful countryside, but how far would he have gotten, locked to a ball and chain? There wasn’t a ball and chain anywhere in sight.

We are meant to fly, to be unburdened from our past, to live in the moment, to have a future, but how many of us do? How many of us are willing to give ourselves permission to unlock those chains and balls and walk free? This isn’t about some kind of “self-improvement” or “self-help” program, even though there are an over-abundance of those out there. This is about GOOD NEWS!

We all love “good news“, but this is GOOD NEWS that trumps the best news this world has to offer. This GOOD NEWS is about salvation and forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ. The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus Christ died to save sinners, sinners like me, sinners like you, and in Christ, we CAN have freedom from the bondage of our past. Jesus didn’t just die to take care our past sins. He died to take care of ALL of our sins, past, present and future, and that includes those stubborn “IF ONLY…”s. All you have to do is accept that you can’t do it on your own, and then accept that forgiveness that comes only from God through Jesus Christ. Then you can reach down and unlock those chains and balls and walk free by forgiving yourself as God has. While you are at it, bulldoze those prison-cells of regrets, because you won’t be “needing” them any more either. Do YOU want to fly? I sure do…

See you in the skies!


One thought on “If Only…

  1. Excellent! Loved it!
    The thing about “If I had known then what I know now I would have done it differently” is that we don’t know HOW those choices would have played out. I once saw a made-for-TV movie, in which a young man was cleaning out the attic of his boyhood home, in which his recently-deceased mother had lived. His father had been a fireman, and had died in a warehouse fire trying to save a little girl. The young man finds his father’s ham radio equipment. He turns it on, and tries to find someone on the air. Being of the science-fiction genre, this took place during a thunderstorm, and conditions cause the radio waves to go back in time and contact his father. He warns his father to stay out of the warehouse. The father does, and lives. However, this changed history, and as a result, his mother was at home when she would have been on her way to the hospital. A home intruder rapes and murders her. Therefore, other choices we could have made might have given us, and/or someone we love, shorter lives. I was engaged to be married to someone else, before I met and married my current wife. She is the only woman to whom I’ve been married and with whom I’ve been sexually intimate (which didn’t happen until the honeymoon). I believe I made the right decision, in that regard. I also believe that, had I married someone else, I wouldn’t have the children I now have. I might not be a father, at all.

    Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. We certainly are not robots without free will, but if we commit our lives to the LORD, He will direct our steps. That’s certainly a lot better than not knowing the LORD, and hoping for the best. I hope for the best, but I have committed my life to God, through Jesus Christ, and so I can be confident that whatever happens to me, is for the best.


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