Yesterday morning, I woke up to my verse of the day, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation). Old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Whether it was on purpose, or a Godsend verse for me,
it was especially poignant today.
The end of a year. The beginning of a new one.
So many times in our lives we rehash things. Argue about the past,
or hold on to bad memories and grudges.
This is not God’s plan for our lives.
Even in the song “Auld Lang Syne”, the title means: “times long past”
We hold on to so much negative in our lives, or hold on to so many
things that we can’t do anything about!
All this does is create dissension in our lives, and ruins our
relationships with people, because we don’t trust wholly, and are therefore cynical towards them and life in general!
In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul puts it eloquently, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
I think those that choose to live without Jesus are at a loss. In more ways than one… But in this context, they are missing out on a joyful, blessed life in Christ. And that those of us who harbor grudges and ill feelings towards people and things in the past, are only making our futures bleak and depressing.
If anyone has a reason to dwell on the past, it would be myself. I come from a broken home, both parents remarried.
Drugs interwoven throughout my childhood and much of my teenage years.
Sexual and Physical abuse to top it off.
Also on the list:
2 failed marriages, and homelessness.
I have watched friends die, and have had my share of “suffering” at the hands of others.
I have been dealing with depression for as long as I can remember…
Yet, I stay focused on the here and now.
Many of us have had our share of family disputes, marital battles, and kids that don’t talk to us, and vice-versa. We continue to keep the embers burning for our grudge to the point that not only does it NOT burn out, but it is forever hot.
Why do we hold on to so much negativity in our lives? Is it that it is so much easier? Divorced couples still fighting and
in stalemate after years of being separated. Countries battling against each other for reasons that are long- forgotten..
Even the present-day Hatfield’s and McCoy’s of
West Virginia/Kentucky fame don’t even
know why they were still feuding!
For those that don’t know Jesus, I suppose I can understand, to a point, why most harbor unforgiveness, and grudges, because they don’t know the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross!
But…to Christians? I really don’t understand. Hebrews 8 talks about Israelite’s betrayal to God, and how God said, “ For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds, I will remember no more.”
God can forgive a whole nation for inflicting pain on each other,
worshiping idols, and partaking in evil for centuries….
But the Father of the universe says, that He will NOT remember
their sins and lawless deeds ANYmore!
We can take a lesson here! What good does it do to harbor grudges forever? Isaiah quoted God in Chapter 43, verse 25: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more”
A beautiful passage in Psalm 103:10-14 says,
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities For as the Heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
(He remembers them NO MORE!)
As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.”
So, what are Christians doing, walking around in unforgiveness?
One of my favorite verses of all times puts very clearly the
MAGNITUDE of what our Savior did on the cross for us.
1 John 1:9 says, ” If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “
If Jesus can forgive murders, thieves, liars, adulterers, idolators,
betrayers, child beaters, and rapists…
(most of us don’t fall into ANY of these categories)….THEN WHY on God’s green earth can’t we forgive those who have suffered unto us, the slightest of infractions?
I get it. Life is bad sometimes. But living in the PAST? How is that working for you? Why, if we had a horrible childhood, would we want to trudge that back up, just to prove that a brother or sister wronged us?
How about the spouse that was caught in infidelity? That is some pretty wicked stuff! How could you possibly forgive that person? Or the person who talked about you behind your back? Let’s go a step further…what about someone that got a better break than you in life and they’re doing just fine, while you are festering under your breath how your life sucks, and they are doing fantastic?
Yeah, life is unfair…sometimes things don’t go your way. Maybe you aren’t what you wanted to do when you were planning out your life. Maybe you are STUCK in your life with “no way out” Life is just downright depressing. But, if you’re a Christian, then you have the likes of Job who lost IT ALL! You have Jesus who did nothing but show love and do miracles have His life here on earth end so
tragically painful and gruesome…could you endure what He did
going to the cross for you?
What about Paul, writer of 1/2 of the New Testament?
He experienced so much pain and torment in his entire life, and died at the hands of many of the same folks that he ran with while
persecuting the church!! (How’s that for backstabbing?)
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Forget the past, it has nothing for you anymore. It is done, over with. Stop hanging on to “what might have been” It didn’t happen for a reason. Deal with it! God had a better plan than what you could come up with! So, you’re having a rough life? Ever think that you are miserable because, A: You WANT to be miserable? or
B: your negativity might actually be holding you back?
I am not begrudging anyone to have a pity party once in awhile,
believe me, I still throw a couple of those for myself…but we don’t have to stay at the party! We can CHOOSE to pick up our head, walk straight, and keep focusing on Jesus, because, HE is “the author and finisher of our faith” and when we have troubles, we can go to the Father and pray to our hearts content.
If we don’t know any bad, or have any trials or tribulations, then how will we recognize the good when we see it? Easy. We won’t!! We will take EVERYTHING for granted, and just be whiny spoiled brats who get whatever we want!
Paul put it this way in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only that, but we REJOICE in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does NOT put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us!!“
God gave you a story to tell. Tell the STORY. Tell HIS story! But, whatever you do, don’t tell the story in a
backwash of negativity…Tell your story with EXCITEMENT,
with GRATEFULNESS, WITH POWER that you NOW HAVE OVER that story.
When I tell my story that God gave me, I don’t cry in remembrance, I don’t look back with melancholy.
When I tell the story of what others did to me,
I tell it with THANKFULNESS and CHEERFULNESS…
that GOD allowed these things to HAPPEN to strengthen me.
I don’t speak ill of anyone that ever hurt me,
I don’t CURSE God because He allowed it to happen.
I don’t run around saying “WHY ME??!!!”
I am not the only person on this planet. Last I checked there were some people (Some very close to us) going through some pretty wicked things right now…
(and as I pray for them…I am reminded of how blessed I am to be where I am at!)
How can I be so PIOUS to think that I am the only one going through anything right now?
This is a new year! Don’t make this year like all the others…make up your mind that you are going to Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Make up your mind that you will pray for anyone that is less fortunate and celebrate with those that have more than you!
Stop portraying yourself as a martyr. Look at the trial as a lesson, a test, a REASON to LEARN and to draw closer to God!
STOP DWELLING ON THE PAST. It is done. It is over. There is NOTHING you can do to erase it….
STOP WORRYING ABOUT TOMORROW.
(The day has it’s OWN troubles…)
LIVE FOR TODAY. Because your life can only be lived NOW.
When we worry about anything, or dwell on anything, or obsess about anything other than the HERE AND THE NOW… We rob ourselves of precious time to make a difference with the gifts God gave us to change the things within our sphere of influence!
Here’s to NEW BEGINNINGS! ~ Peace, Mike