A colourful expression on a fairly dark subject goes like this, “They’ll soon be reading over me and patting my face with a shovel.”
I am not morose, neither am I cavalier about that rapidly advancing day.
General Robert E. Lee said, “Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and when summoned away, to leave without regrets.”
Although I have the deepest admiration for this great Christian Civil War General and agree with getting correct views of life, I confess to being plagued by many regrets. I must therefore leave the statement “I have no regrets” to those who may genuinely believe it.
If we were to address the subject of regret in complete candour, we would all have to admit that just by being human we have contributed to a global matrix of misery. It is our regrettable nature.
I readily concede that we can all by compulsion or environmental influence do virtuous things but we are never capable of actually generating the singular quality known as virtue.
As long as we immodestly insist that our nature is intrinsically good, we circumvent the very thing to which we aspire; namely virtue or good. Modesty however, provides a window for us to identify our intrinsic human value and dignity while combating our innate pride which seems to provide license for such a wide array of compromising and harmful behaviours.
In an effort to more succinctly identify this problem I quote Malcolm Muggeridge who said, “The depravity of man is at once most empirically verifiable and intellectually resisted.”
I’m sure most of us would agree that we do not know any perfect people and as contrary as it is to our wishes, we ourselves share that imperfection.
This is especially good news for people in my position who have no chance (because of the constraints of time and the gross imbalance on my personal account of virtue and vice) to catch up and satisfy any karmic equation.
The reason I can afford to interpret this as good news is because God guarantees that His free gift is eternal life in Christ. It is at the very least prudent then to comply with his clearly defined protocol to realign our affections toward our Creator, repent of the sin that proves our depravity, plagues our conscience and alienates us from God. We have, at that point, a very real opportunity (in actual time) to receive the gift of eternal life that cost God more than we can imagine, appreciate or calculate and start to cultivate that deep relationship that both God and man desires.
In the most inoffensive terms I can muster without compromising my convictions, I would like to suggest to the person who does not yet believe in the veracity of the scriptures but does claim intrinsic good – the human conscience is reduced to a self-referential facility and is only capable of generating a code of sociological situation ethics that proves to be nothing but a nostrum for chaos.