Let's Make A Deal
by Randy Kiel | November 20, 2023
From my youth unto present time, the phrase “Let’s make a deal” conjures images of a game show with people dressed in many types of costumes, from clown suits and shower curtains to Christmas trees and fairies. It is a slapstick prize-begging game show that ends with the infamous question of choice, “Which will you choose: Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3?”
“Ugh! Which should I choose?”
The idea that life is full of choices is quite familiar to all and many days we have probably wished that we would have selected Door #3 instead of Door #1. This is a silly example, but it represents the emotion of regret.
Regrets from our choices are difficult to manage, but they are for all of us to bear. To bear something means “to come under, to endure.”
In the New Testament, whenever the word hypomeno was used, it meant to endure for the sake of a coming joy. For example, Hebrews 12:2 reads, “who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorned its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Regret is one of the ways that our minds learn. Some say, “Never allow yourself to feel regret.”
“Hmm, now just how is a person supposed to pull that off?”
I suspect that regret happened as soon as Adam and Eve first bit the forbidden fruit. How would they have expressed regret? They had never felt this emotion until then. It must have sounded like shouting and groaning, much like the sound when regret still strikes us to this day.
Perhaps Satan himself approached Eve with the same false proposal saying, “Okay, let’s just make a deal and then I won’t bother you anymore.” They took the fruit. The deal was done. He then began to bother mankind forever.
It is important to know, that while we might make deals in business or with car purchases, etc., God has never been in the mode of “deal making”; he makes covenants.
We are invited into the covenant of his Paschal mystery. We either come under the covenant or we don’t. There is no deal making.
When we come under his covenant, the result is that we get to know him and have relationship with him for the sake of our salvation. If we avoid his covenant, we can only imagine who God is, but not really know him. Imagining God does not lead to salvation. This, in great part, is why we hear so many views of who God is: the universe, a higher power, or whatever a person wants to call him.
Let’s make sure that our spiritual life doesn’t become like the game show “Let’s Make A Deal.” If we think that we have the most perfect way to pray, the better way to be Catholic, or the holiest posture, then we might as well be dressing up in a shower curtain with no game show to attend.
After all, a “spiritual life” isn’t necessarily a life of faith in Jesus Christ. A great part of our relationship with him is us telling him about how human we are and how divine he is.
He knows how much we regret the things we struggle with in our lives, so let’s tell him about them. All our regrets are here to point us to a further understanding of life and its creator. If we allow ourselves to feel the regret, or come under it, hypomeno, then there will most often be a lesson waiting to be learned.
In the end, we will value the lesson more than feel the pain of the regret. The lesson will endure, hypomeno.
While it is hard to admit, “I made a mistake” it is even harder to confess “I did something I regret.”
God did not make a deal with us that said anything like, if you follow me you will have no regrets. Rather, he made a covenant for us that said, if you follow me I will take care of everything for you and give you eternal life. That, my brothers and sisters, is not a “deal;” it is a promise!
Deacon Randy Kiel serves Our Lady of the Americas Parish in Des Moines. Connect with him at email@example.com.