Regret is one of the most heart-breaking of human dispositions. Repentance is the bedrock of a life in Christ, but regret is like repentance without the happy ending. The epitaph of “I wish I had only, had never, I wonder what would have happened if, I know I should have, I always meant to” turns my stomach. We all have them. One of my vows at a young age was to live to have as few “shoulda/wish I hadn’t” incidents as possible.
One of the many beautiful aspects of the Gospel of Jesus is that it proclaims a perpetual present tense invitation to newness. The call of Christ through His perfect work is a constant invitation to have new life NOW! Like the whimsical sage Rafiki would aptly say, everything else is “in the past.”
Jesus tells an incredibly domestic story to illustrate this truth in the Gospel according to Matthew. Simply put he describes a scene where a “good son” quickly agrees to follow his father’s instruction and claims good intention to do a task while a “rebellious son” declines the invitation. The plot twist is that the story goes on to say while the “good son” had a good game in talk, he actually never followed through whereas the “bad son” had a change of heart and later actually did complete the request of his father. Jesus says despite the initial lip service, it was the son who later actually did follow through on the request who was actually the “good son.” The repentant, slow to get to his senses son was the illustration of the “true” son in the story. This fabled son is the mascot for what should be an overwhelmingly subscribed to “Later Club” – a league of people who did not get it right the first, second, third or eighteenth time, but eventually saw the light by God’s grace and are following Jesus now.
Take encouragement. Today is THE day. It doesn’t matter how many days, months or years you’ve been ignoring doing “it” but today you can celebrate that God loves the “Later Club” who eventually turn and take the right action.