Bob Santos. Say Goodbye to Regret: Discovering the Secret to a Blessed Life. Search for Me Ministries, Inc., 2017. See here to buy the book.
This is the third Bob Santos book that I have read. Some of what he said in this book overlaps with things that he said in his other books. But there were also new things that he said in this book, and the old things that he said did not get old. Santos has a weighty, thoughtful style, and this book is interspersed with compelling, relevant stories, both personal and from the news. The stories accomplish a variety of things: they provide an inviting tone, grab the reader’s attention and interest, illustrate the author’s point, and present the author as one who empathizes with our struggles, since he has experienced struggles himself.
As the title indicates, the book tackles the topic of regret. Some of the book talks about attitudes that we can take to move on past regret: remembering that God is forgiving, and avoiding a hardened heart. Santos also discusses prevention: how can we avoid doing something that we regret? Remembering that actions have consequences and having good influences on our lives are part of this preventative approach. A lot of the book, though, is about living the Christian life. Santos addresses the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and what was so bad about it. As in his book, The Divine Progression of Grace, Santos encourages people to depend on God rather than self, and he discourages legalism and self-righteousness. Many topics that Santos covers relate tangentially to the topic of regret, if they relate to it at all, but what Santos has to say about these topics is still worth reading.
In terms of giving practical, concrete things to do, Santos’ book falls short, even though it does this occasionally, and its suggestions for group activities are creative. Where the book excels is that it talks about the sort of constructive attitude that we can have as we walk the Christian walk and go through life. Santos does not necessarily offer suggestions on what to do, but he provides insights on how to look at situations. In this, the book is especially helpful.
Santos in one place said that God is not a grandfather who approves of all of our choices. At times, that is the sort of God that I would like to have. But Santos says that God is tougher than that: “Grandfathers tend to spoil kids, but a wise and loving father trains his children to maturity” (page 194). What is ironic is that reading this book was like wrapping myself in a warm, comfortable blanket, even though the book may have tried to distance itself from that. That was on account of its warm, friendly, and empathetic tone.
There were some insights in the book that I appreciated in light of other books that I had read. For example, Santos’ discussion of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil reminded me of J. Todd Billings argument in Union with Christ that God wanted Adam and Eve to have union with God even in the Garden of Eden. As Santos says, their sin was that they sought wisdom apart from a relationship with God: they sought autonomy, that they might be gods themselves.
In one case, Santos was making a point that other Christians may have made before, but he did so with such conviction that there was a weight to what he was saying: “Humanity’s problem, you see, is not that our Creator has somehow let us down. The bigger issue is that we simply fail to see Him for all that He is. That is what wisdom helps us to do—-to see God more and more in his holiness” (pages 239-240). It’s like Santos has experienced something yet wants to experience it at a deeper level than he currently is. And he wants us to experience it, too.
The “About the Author” part of the book talks about how Santos and his wife got involved in church activities soon after their conversion, yet felt empty. Elsewhere in the book, though, he talks about the importance of service and having a mission beyond ourselves. Santos appeals to our reason in this discussion. Santos did not explicitly resolve these tensions, and yet the picture that he presents—-reliance on the God who loves us and knows us—-may be a part of that resolution.
I have not been disappointed in a Bob Santos book so far.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Bookcrash. My review is honest!