Yesterday someone questioned me about the theology in a line from a past devotional, and my first reaction was that I must have made a mistake. Upon further review, I didn’t make a mistake and I processed his possible interpretations about what I wrote and how he read it.
Try as I may though, I find that my brokenness and past sin are sometimes like a huge stone that hangs around my neck. Carrying that stone brings guilt, shame and weakness, and at times, causes me to avoid certain opportunities and experiences. I know and believe I have been forgiven, but I struggle with laying down that stone and walking away from it. Do you have similar experiences?
Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible experiences for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive guilt and anxiety into constructive thought and hope for a transformed and transforming future. We don’t have to hold onto distorted lenses from past wounds and mistakes. But we do have to look back and re-examine them through Godly lenses, letting God into our past so we can have clear lenses to see Him, ourselves, and daily experiences that He brings into our life.
Trusting God’s forgiveness is a big and difficult stretch…for most, myself included, really receiving God’s forgiveness takes time. For me, I had to work up to this huge step of trust by practicing, implementing, and applying trust in much smaller areas of life and in my relationship with God. Then I was able to absorb His forgiveness in the bigger areas of my life. You can, too.
Trusting Him when there is an illness…a flat tire…change of plans…someone else is in charge…a deadline is changed…a random bill comes into your life… protection for your children is needed…feeling unloved or valueless. Like any skill, starting small, practicing, and then stretching it can lead to powerful abilities. Trust is the same way. Trusting in His power of forgiveness is one of the richest skills you can develop. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Jesus Christ.
Today, leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him. Start by trusting Him, His agenda, promises, character, and instruction in 3 situations today. You already do, but acknowledge and identify it is a skill, trusting in God so you can get better at it and use it in tougher times.
Dear Mighty and Forgiving God, I can easily become paralyzed with shame, guilt, and fear over my past. I have hurt You…and I know I have hurt others. I am so thankful for Your promise of forgiveness – Thank You, Lord. I ask You, Father, to help me lay down the heavy stone of my past that I have been carrying. Let me remember and be accountable for my past brokenness and sin…but let it not keep me from moving toward You with freedom. I pray in the name of the one whom You sent to lift the burdens of my past, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.