As I begin this musing I need to make a confession… I am registered with Pinterest. Yes, it’s true. But before you threaten to take away my “man-card”, let me explain… Before I could open the Pinterest e-mail and text forwards friends and family thought I would enjoy, I had to register. Sad, but true. So… that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it… :-)
All that said, I just saw a really poignant post on Pinterest: “Generally, people like to bring up your past, when your present and future appears to be better than theirs.” Did you catch that? I sure did. I have witnessed that played out way too many times, and tragically all too often in the church, and among those who profess to be among the adopted saints of God.
Scripture tells us that our God is a jealous God. But that is a far cry from human jealousy. When people get jealous it tends to be an ugly, hurtful, narcissistic mess. I’m guessing you’ve been on the receiving end of it before. And sadly, you’ve likely even witnessed it.
Lovingly confronting someone about sin in their life that can lead to potentially devastating consequences is one thing, especially when one does so with the heart and commitment to help a brother or sister… or even lead someone to freedom and salvation in Christ. But to bring up someone’s past transgressions? To throw in their face past behavior? And doing so with a critical, judgmental spirit? Hmmm… First off, I am thinking I am sure glad I am not walking in their proverbial moccasins. They should read Galatians 6:6-7; I am thinking such attitudes and behavior will not go well for them. But I am also always left wondering what is going on their life. What sins are they hiding… what are they running from or trying to hide from God and His people?
Over the years I have observed that the most critical, judgmental people are also typically the ones with the most to hide. They love to major on sins they are not struggling with (I am thinking that majoring on someone else’s sin and past makes what their doing less onerous). And sadly, they are also among the most difficult to help. Why? Because sometimes they’re in a sense hiding their sin from themselves, choosing to ignore it or play ignorant. What’s more, sinful behavior loves the darkness.
But let’s come back to the “your past” that someone might critically bring up. What are we to do about that? First off, the past is just that, the past. It needs to stay there; not in the present. A philosopher named George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We should learn from our past, and apply those lessons to the present and our future. A friend (think Godly person with your best interests at heart) may ask you about your past in order to help you in your present. But again, the past is the past. Learn the lessons and let it go. Move on. God gave you a life, a new life in fact, now live it.
I’ve a crazy thought. Next time someone seems to get all jealous about your present and future, and throws your past in your face, don’t react… Instead thank God for His love, His grace, HIs eternal forgiveness, and for these wonderful, life changing truths: This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT). He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) And one of my favorites: Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! (Micah 7:19 NLT) I heard a preacher once say, “God then puts up a ‘No Fishing!’ sign.”
If, as a believer, you are ashamed of your past, then accept God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and live for Him in the present. Some won’t like it; some won’t believe it; but those who love and know you best, those who are true friends, they get it. They don’t get all jealous. And besides, what matters most is what God sees and knows.
If you find yourself ashamed of your past AND your present… It might just mean you need to know Christ as forgiver and Savior. I/we can help with that.
Have a blessed and wonderful week!