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Vol.  10  No. 9 September 2008  Page 12
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Dean KellyThe Path of Least Regret

By Dean Kelly

Of all places, I heard the phrase that I am using as a title on a severe weather broadcast from our local NBC affiliate, WSFA 12. I think that the weatherman was talking about getting to a safe place during a potential tornado. It just struck me what a powerful saying that was. We all have heard of taking the “path of least resistance,” but the “path of least regret” is probably the exact opposite. Let me illustrate.

The path of least regret: Sexual Purity: Isn’t it interesting that we so often become involved in treating the symptoms of a problem instead of treating the actual problem. In this realm, this is certainly the case. We hear laments over teenage pregnancies, and the answer that is offered is teaching “safe sex.” Basically, what we are saying is that particularly young people are going to take the path of least resistance, so we need to educate them in how to sin skillfully. What we need to be emphasizing, instead, is the path of least regret. No young lady has ever become pregnant (besides Mary) who has not had relations with a male. Young people, like older people, will sin and be overcome by desires. However, we are doing them no favors when we decide to teach them how to more effectively sin. We need to do everything in our power to teach them that the only true answer is to choose to stay pure until they marry. If they do that, they will never have to worry about STDs, AIDS or unwanted pregnancies. (Obviously, the exception to this is one who is the victim of rape or incest, which they did not choose.) The path of least regret is far superior to the path of least resistance.

The path of least regret: Alcohol: Here again we emphasize the symptom and not the problem. We tell young people, “Don’t drink and drive” (the path of least resistance), rather than “Don’t drink” (the path of least regret). Again, we have decided to try to tell our young people, as well as older ones, that you just need to learn how to sin skillfully. There is not a person who has caused a drunk driving accident, or beat his wife and children in a drunken rage or destroyed her family with alcohol-induced neglect who did not first of all take a drink. The path of least resistance is to allow ourselves to be drawn into the use of alcohol. Everyone drinks, after all. If I am going to fit in with my friends at work, I have to drink. After all, I have the right to drink. The arguments and excuses go on and on. The path of least regret is the path of abstaining from alcohol, period. There is no reasonable excuse to partake in something that can do no good and can lead to much destruction, pain and despair. Again, the path of least regret is far superior to the path of least resistance.

The path of least regret: In Every Phase of Life:  The path of least regret is almost always harder, at least in the beginning, than the path of least resistance. However, both paths can be rocky, and each path has its own set of problems. The difference is that we are in control of our decisions and our choices when we take the path of least regret; that is not true when we take the path of least resistance. When we actively make our choices to stand up for what is right in our lives, to recognize God in our choices and to take control of our own lives to the best of our ability, we can know when all is said and done that we have done the best that we could do, and that we can truly say that we do not regret the life that we have lived. I encourage all of us to seek the path of least regret, in the end it is certainly going to be worth it.

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