Some of us reading this blog might be the good kid that never did anything bad. Others of us might be the exact opposite. In a world that encourages us to do whatever makes us feel good, sadly, a lot of us have…for a long time.
If you are like me, and made some big mistakes in your past, I know how heavy that can be. It is easy to talk ourselves down, compares ourselves to the “good” people, and/or feel shame. God wants none of this for us. That’s why, with a little help from my wife (that isn’t cheating, we are two become one), I have compiled the list below. Read it and don’t weep. Read it and rejoice. God is love and mercy.
1. Your past doesn’t define you
Yes, cliché, but completely true…so believe it. All we have in the present moment. All we can do is seek to love God fully in this present moment, and repent for times we failed in the past. Regardless of what we have done, God doesn’t look at us like we are wearing the Scarlet Letter. There is no label attached by God other than “my beloved child”. We need to let this sink deep into our pores. Each day is a new day, and we are able to start anew.
2. God draws straight with crooked lines
Or as that one country band said, “God blessed the broken road…” He gives us freedom, and yet in His perfect goodness, he uses all things for good. If you are reading this blog, no doubt He has done that in your life and given you the gift of faith. If He hasn’t and you are reading this blog, it looks like He is about to!! But yes, God came for sinners – us – so it shouldn’t be a surprise that He can do great things with our mistakes.
3. God’s mercy is bigger than you
Jesus poured out His blood on the cross so that we could be freed from enslavement to sin. We better not eradicate what He did on the cross because we think what we did was so amazingly bad that He CAN’T FORGIVE IT!! He can and He will…or has.
4. Love covers a multitude of sins
At one point while on earth, Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much” (Luke 7:47). St. Peter echoed those words of our Savior later on in one of his letters: “Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). So, like I mentioned in the first thing on the list, we only have the present. If we seek with all our heart to love right now, we should be consoled by these words of Scripture. Now we just need to love…no big deal.
5. Recognize Satan will whisper things from your past to you, so kick him in the jaw.
He is a sneaky little devil. We need to recognize when that “self-talk” is actually his crazy voice trying to throw us off the path of the Lord! Kick him.
6. St. Paul was once Saul
If you know the story of St. Stephen, you know he is the first Christian martyr (see Acts 7:54-8:1). It was Saul that condoned the murder of Stephen. Saul had a huge conversion, and we know him now as the great St. Paul. He left his past in the past. He recognized the mistakes he made, but he went full steam ahead.
7. If you are really worried about it, consider visiting with a qualified counselor
Sometimes, we need a little help from people. There are situations where our past might be affecting our relationship with God and with others. Counseling can often be a great option to aid us in finding healing from our past. Our Savior is the Divine Physician, but that doesn’t mean seeking help from our fellow human beings can’t be a part of that process.
So, let the past stay in the past. Our Lord has made all things new…we should let Him do that in our life as well. Take a deep breath. God is good. Go tell someone about Him.