Regrets, I’ve had a few ….

This post was contributed by Lindsay, Trustee at HBC

Regrets, I’ve had a few, sang Frank Sinatra – but then he did it “his way”.

A blog receiving attention from columnists recently is one by Dr. Bronnie Ware, who worked in palliative care for many years and spoke to many dying patients. She has shared what they told her and reports that the top five regrets of the dying are:


1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. (This was the most common regret of all.)

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. (This is a surprisingly common one.)

Dr Ware says “Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

As a Christian, I thought “What will I regret on my deathbed, or what should I do more of now to avoid those regrets?” Surely I won’t ever regret not just pleasing myself or just seeking after fleeting happiness.

I’d agree with numbers two and four above, and possibly number three, but two major ones for me are:

  1. I wish I’d spent more time with the Lord in Bible Reading and Prayer.
  2. I wish I’d shared the joy of the Lord’s salvation with more people.

Of course as forgiven sinners we’ll always have regrets, and yet by God’s grace it’s never too late this side of heaven to work in certain areas in order to avoid the extent of these regrets!

But what of the non-Christian after death – a solemn regret will be “I wish I’d heeded the Gospel message!” – see for instance Jesus’ parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus in the Gospel of . Indeed so many of the Lord’s parables speak on these matters, including The Sheep and the Goats in .

I recall C T Studd’s words used as a refrain in his great poem: “Only one life – ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last”. Will you have any major regrets when you near the end of your life?

Photo Credit: © waxart –

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

3 thoughts on “Regrets, I’ve had a few ….”

  1. Lyndsay,
    Doesnt considering the day of our departing life make us wiser? It is too easy to forget it, and live like pleasure seeking pagans.

    I read the passage on Hezekiahs terminal illness that God cured. God gave Hezekiah 15 more years. I wonder if Hezekiah had any sense of how many years the Lord had given him? If we knew that we had only 15 more years in this world, I think it would change our lives with very different priorities.

    ‘teach us to number our days’


Comments are closed.