Are You Looking Back with Gratitude or Regret?

woman looking backLooking back at what our slavery to __________________ (name your area of addiction or destructive behavior) has cost us can be both beneficial and harmful. The indicator of which side we are on is discovered by asking ourselves, “Does this thinking result in gratitude or regret?”

Psalm 84 is usually titled in our Bibles, “The Blessedness of Dwelling in the House of the Lord.” It is one of the most beautiful and informative scriptures on the journey of the Christian to deeper intimacy with God. It was written by the humble sons of Korah whose story is worth telling.

The families of Korah, descendents of the Levites, were charged with transporting the “most holy things” of the sanctuary. Their duties included the ark, the lamp stand, the altars, the utensils, and the screen after the sons of Aaron covered them in preparation for moving the Tent to a new location. Eleazar, a son of Aaron was their overseer.

Korah led a minor rebellion against Moses, essentially accusing Moses of thinking he was elite among the Israelites, accusing him of leading them to death and not keeping his promise to lead them to a land of milk and honey, the promise God made to Moses. Moses saw that Korah did not appreciate the privilege of the family task assigned them by God. “It is a small thing to you that the Lord God of Israel separated you from the congregation of Israel and brought you near to Himself.” They lacked an attitude of gratitude and did not appreciate that God had “brought (them) near to Himself.”

Moses then said that their rebellion was not against him, but against God. In essence, they did not know their identity in God and in rejecting Moses as God’s appointed leader they were also rejecting God. Korah and his 250 companions in rebellion were swallowed up by a fiery parting of the earth. The family was removed from their duties and eventually placed in service as doorkeepers to the Tabernacle. The family of Korah was certainly humbled. But in their humility they finally saw that any service to the Lord is no small thing. Thus they wrote these lyrics in verse 11 of Psalm 84: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” And as doorkeepers of the Tabernacle they saw each face of the man, woman and child who made the pilgrimage to the feasts, who came to make their offerings to God filled with joy and anticipation of blessings. I can only imagine the stories they heard from individuals and families about their journeys and how it affected their own faith!

When we look back at what our addictions or behaviors have cost us we have a choice to look back with regret or gratitude. Regret sees loss. Gratitude sees grace. We can rephrase verse 11 for ourselves this way—“I would rather be where I am today with God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

Does regret constrain you from moving forward into a deeper relationship with God and His grace through Jesus Christ?

In verse 5 the psalmist writes, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.”

Blessed (asher) means to be in a state of happiness. The root of this Hebrew word means to go on, to advance. When we are in a state of blessedness, or happiness, there is nothing that holds us back, there are no constraints in the needs of our life when our strength is in God and we are determined to move forward. Think about it: blessedness is a state of being, unrelated to material possessions or external conditions. For the Christian, according to the sons of Korah, we are blessed when we are able to advance into a deeper relationship with God, when nothing constrains us from doing so.

Do you realize how blessed you are today?

Copyright 2013 David Gibson, used by permission.

David GibsonDavid Gibson is a writer, essayist, and blogger of Bible teachings for life application.  He is also a Christian conference and retreat speaker, an adjunct professor of World Religions, and the former host of radio’s “Walking with the Master”.  David is an ordained pastor and was a pastoral counselor in the NJ prison system and a NJ psychiatric hospital. He received his Clinical Pastoral Education at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He was freed from his addictions over 25 years ago.