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Pointers along the way #113

Leaving the past behind
- Jacob Ninan

Some of us are slaves to our past. We feel bound down by some bad things we have done or what someone else has done to us. We tend to think that because we have been like that in the past, we can never be otherwise. As a result we don't even try to move forward. But this kind of thinking is false. Jesus is in the business of making all things new, if we let Him (Re.21:5;2Co.5:17).

"Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers" - this is a very short list the Bible gives of bad people. We can be sure that this is not an exhaustive list! But the Bible goes on to say, "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1Co.6:9-11). What does this passage tell us? That however bad our past has been, when Jesus takes hold of us He washes us clean and makes us new. So we can begin with a clean record.

We may think that this is fine as far as how God looks at us. But our problem may be how people look at us and how we ourselves feel. What we need to see here is that if God thinks of us in one way, we can very well afford to think about ourselves like that, and then it doesn't matter what others think. We can deliberately switch our mind to believe what God says and reject what everyone else says.

But we may still think that it is all very well to think like that, but what can we do if other people still treat us in the old way? The answer is, very little. Since we can't really change how other people treat us, let's stop wishing to, and go forward with our lives. Sooner or later the others will notice that we have changed, and then they will change the way they treat us.

Some of us are wishing to change what can't be changed. We wish we hadn't done this or been like that. Maybe some events have overtaken us, and we are still thinking we can reverse them somehow.

What can we do about our past? We need to honestly acknowledge it, learn whatever lessons we can learn from it, set right whatever we need to set right and what is still possible to set right, leave the rest to God and go forward. Paul did this about his past (Php.3:13). He acknowledged he had been a blasphemer and a violent persecutor, tried to work all the more passionately to serve Christ and His people, and learned to live with the fact that there were many things he could not set right.

For some people what can be most difficult is to live with some injustice of the past. But if it is something we can't set right, we need to commit that to God and then go forward (1Pe.2:19,20,23).

Why should we let our past spoil our future?