There’s a quote–attributed to many people–that goes something like this: “At the end of life you won’t regret what you did as much as what you did not do.”
I’m not sure everything you might do in life fits that quote, but we all get the idea. We don’t want to leave things undone in life, especially the things that matter the most.
What are those things you don’t want to leave undone?
First, don’t fail to say, “I love you.” This is pretty simple to write about. We all know we need to tell people how we feel about them, yet think of how many people fail to do so. How many times do we let anger or bitterness get the best of us? How often do we not “get around to” the most important things in life.
Several years ago Martha and I spent some wonderful, emotional time making sure we had both said the loving, kind things we wanted to say to each other. Sometime after that we simply acknowledged that whenever the time comes that one of us has to go on alone, we would know we had not left anything unsaid.
I would strongly encourage you to have that conversation.
Second, don’t fail to apologize. Don’t be so stubborn that you can’t acknowledge your imperfections. We all know no one is perfect, but we generally feel that we actually come pretty close. Failing to apologize is one of the ways that show we think ourselves as perfect.
What friendships could be repaired and relationships strengthened if we would simply say something like, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so blunt or hurtful.”
Third, don’t fail to forgive. Forgiveness is at the heart of living for Christ. He forgave from the cross, and He told us to forgive others.
One of the greatest sorrows I see as a pastor is families that no longer get along. Somewhere in the past something happened, and it’s never been solved. Someone didn’t apologize, and someone didn’t forgive.
For families and friends to endure, someone has to be big enough to say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive.”
It’s hard to apologize and it’s hard to forgive, but it’s always harder not to do those things.
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