Have you ever been blindsided by your past? You could be driving down the road, reading a book, or listening to music. Something triggers a memory and suddenly BAM!
I was recently blindsided with memories of a very un-gospel-like incident. As I replayed the scene in my mind, shame, regret, and sorrow washed over me. How could I have done that? How could I have said those things? Who do I think I am?
After the tears dried, I had two choices. I could beat myself up or turn that un-gospel-like recollection into a gospel moment. Thankfully, I chose the latter. So at the risk of stating the obvious, here is what I preached to myself:
- If I was so hardened that I couldn't acknowledge any wrong, what a tragic state to be in. So praise God for godly sorrow. It's a sign my conscience isn't seared and that the Holy Spirit is working in my heart. (2 Cor. 7:10; Rom. 2:4)
- Forgiveness is available for Christians, too. I needed it the day I was saved, and I'll need it every day for the rest of my life. (1 John 1:6-9)
- There is no condemnation in Christ. Not because God turns a blind eye to my sin but because His just wrath was poured out on Jesus in my place. (Rom. 8:1-4)
- My sanctification isn't derailed. God has not thrown His hands in the air saying, "You were progressing so swimmingly. What am I going to do now that you've messed things up? You've set Me back at least 10 years." Nonsense. God will present me blameless and holy to Himself, not because I've been a model Christian in my own right but because He has promised to do so in His Word. (Phil. 1:6; Jude 24-25)
- Nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Not the times I've blown it in the past. Nor the times I will fail in the future. Absolutely nothing. (Rom. 8:31-39)
- There is hope for my brokenness and those I have hurt. Jesus came to heal and bind up our wounds. Reconciliation is possible through the gospel. (Is. 61:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:16-20)
So I apologize that I don't have anything "new" to share. But when the past wallops me from out of nowhere, it's tempting to wonder who I am and if I will ever be a good enough Christian. It's tempting to question whether God's work is enough to compensate for what I've done. It's times like these I need to hang on for dear life to what Jesus has done through His life, death, and resurrection. It isn't a psychological pep talk to cajole myself into feeling better, but the declaration of reality - who God is, what He has done, and who He declares me to be in Christ.
This is the truth that sets me free.