Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
2 Peter 1:5-7
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.
1 Thessalonians 3:12
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 2not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.
All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
1 John 4:11-13
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
My mother died at the beginning of this year at the age of 81. She was a happy wife of a very loyal husband. She was a serving mother of four children who shared with her our deepest hurts and our greatest dreams. She joyfully hosted guests in our home, taught the ladies Bible class, and stood at the very heart of our family.
My mother lived a life with no regrets. And so, I read with great interest, an article that was published the day following my mother’s death. It was written by Susie Steiner and appeared in the Guardian Weekly, a British newspaper. It is the story of an Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, who spent several years caring for patients during the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying thoughts in her blog and eventually published a book entitled The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying.
Ware noticed the remarkable clarity that people seem to gain at the end of their lives, and she identified several lessons that we can learn from their insight.
She writes, “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.” Here are the top five regrets of the dying that Ware observed:
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, realizing how many dreams had gone unfulfilled. In essence they were all saying that health offers the opportunity to pursue our dreams, until that health is gone. Most wished they had acted when they were younger and healthier.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. This came from every male patient that Ware cared for. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship as they spent their lives on “the treadmill of a work existence. ”
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. In order to keep peace with others many had suppressed their feelings. Some had even developed illnesses due to the bitterness and resentment they carried deep inside. Looking back, they wished they had been more open.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Many would think about old friends in their final weeks and would even try to track them down. There were many regrets about not giving these relationships more time and effort over the years.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. Surprisingly many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. Old habits, the comfort of familiarity, and the fear of change kept them stuck in unhappy routines, while deep inside, they longed for a deeper joy. They discovered that it had always been available, but they had not chosen it.
When I read this list of regrets it brought two thoughts to mind.
First, these stories of regret remind me that my journey of faith, modeled by my mother, can be filled with great joy and end with no regret.
Second, I am grateful that God helped my mother to discover her dreams and live a happy life. She was surrounded by great friends and by a loving family. Both she and my dad worked hard, but they also played hard. She lived a long and full life that took her to several very different parts of our great country, ranging from the sand storms of west Texas, to the swamps of southern Louisiana, to the lake-effect snows of upper Michigan, just to name a few. In each place she built a warm home, made good friends, and experienced joy and fulfillment.
I miss her greatly, but I know that her journey here prepared her to live in a place where regret does not exist.
It’s one thing to look back and regret the direction your life is going. It’s easy to make a list of regrets. But it’s another thing to look at the present and the future with hope. God offers hope. Can you name your greatest regret so far? If you can, then you can begin now taking steps to change it.