Reaching out is better than regret
Anna Heydon urges us to reach out to reconcile to others rather than live with the regret of separation.
I recently came across the website for the ‘World Regret Survey.’ It was set up by Daniel Pink and collects the regrets of people across the world. So far over 19,000 people from 105 countries have contributed.
The image is courtesy of pixabay.com
The website features a world map which you can click on to see some of the regrets listed by people from that country. Pink has identified from the contributions 4 main categories of regret, the biggest of which revolves around ‘connection’ or ‘not reaching out.’ It is clear from browsing the map that this is a regret which spans countries and cultures.
For example, someone from Russia said they regret they “didn’t spend much time with my mum” and someone from Zambia expressed remorse for “having lost contact with most of my friends.” A person from Indonesia said they regretted “not having the courage to reach out and apologise” and someone from the USA lamented “time I didn’t spend with people I care about that I can no longer spend time with.”
This particularly resonated with me because I discovered the website at a time when I was taking part in a course called ‘Difference’ which is about bringing reconciliation and healing to relationships in a divided world. Whether it’s the friend we’ve lost touch with, the family member we’ve fallen out with, the neighbour whose opinions annoy us, or the group of people whose attitudes or behaviour we can’t understand; we will all have experienced disagreement or distance in our relationships at some point.
The Bible reveals that this results from the greatest separation of all – our separation from God. But our Heavenly Father didn’t leave the situation as it was. He performed the ultimate ‘reach-out’: sending Jesus to earth to bring reconciliation between people and God through His death. That’s why the Bible says that “He has restored our relationship with him through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
This should encourage us to extend this relational healing to others. Colossians 3:13 says “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
I don’t suggest for a minute this is easy, and there are certainly cases (e.g. involving abuse) where the distance is essential to maintain safety. However it’s good for each of us to search our hearts and consider whether there are relationships where we can take the first step towards reconciliation. Better this than live with regret.
This article has appeared in the Imagine Norfolk Together newsletter, as well as the Eastern Daily Press and Network Yarmouth.
Anna Heydon is Development Worker for Imagine Norfolk Together in Great Yarmouth, a joint venture between the Diocese of Norwich and the Church Urban Fund, a national organisation set up by the Church of England to combat unmet needs in communities.
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