Have you ever done anything in life you wish you hadn’t or you wish you could take back? If we were standing in a room with 100 people and I asked that question and said to raise your hand if that applied to you, I bet that all 100 hands would be raised, and some people might even throw up both hands and legs if they could. So with that in mind, let’s start this off with an understanding of the fact that you are not alone. Even the Bible says in Romans 3:23 For we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Why? Because none of us are perfect. We all strive to live a life that is pleasing and honorable unto God and we do the best that we can. But we have to understand that 1. We all have a past – the life we lived before we came to know Christ and 2. As humans we all have shortcomings and areas we may fall down in. Now that’s not a pass to say well I’m expected to fall so let me just fall, no. We strive to be a better version of ourselves everyday, growing stronger in the knowledge and wisdom of God. But you may find yourself in a position where you just made the wrong choice. And I am saying to you that God does not love you any less and you are not any less of the beautiful woman or man that God has designed & called you to be.
We’ve all been there. Some of us more or less than others, but we’ve all found ourselves asking ourselves, “How could I have done that? What was I thinking?” Sometimes we’re made to feel as if we’ll never be truly forgiven or that we deserve some type of eternal punishment or that we’re not even worthy of forgiveness because that thing we did or that thing we said was just so unforgivable. Years of regret, shame, disbelief, disgust even can plague our mind as we start to think about that choice we made that hurt us or hurt someone we loved. But let me remind you of God’s word that says in 1 John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Not some, but all unrighteousness. Once you’ve confessed & repented to God, He doesn’t care about that thing you did last week or last year or last decade. As a matter of fact The Bible tells us that He throws away all of our sins into the deepest part of the sea. It is us, we are the ones who need to put down the fishing rods and leave those things behind in the deep sea where they have been thrown.
Perhaps you were once a thief stealing from everyone around you, perhaps you were a compulsive liar and you just couldn’t tell the truth to save your life. Perhaps you were promiscuous and had sexual relations with your entire phone book or you were addicted to pornography or alcohol. Perhaps you cheated on your spouse, talked about a friend behind her back. God has saved us all from something; God has forgiven us all of something. I am certainly in that boat trust you me. But we cannot continue to beat ourselves up about who we used to be. We cannot fall into depression because of what happened to us or what we did or said or what was done or said to us. Life continues. Life moves on. Every 24 hours we’re presented with a new day and God’s mercies are new every morning.
For some of us, we’re still reliving and holding on to our glory days like we’re stuck in a time capsule of when we think things were great and our lives were better off. Still rocking those 70’s or 80’s outfits, constantly telling the same stories of how good life was back in your day. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with reflecting on where you’ve come from and passing those down to your children for example but when it becomes the only lens that you are looking through; when you pay more attention to how it used to be in the past instead of how it is now, what’s going on around you now, you can lose sight of what’s happening and lose direction for where you’re going.
Dwelling on the past can keep us spinning on the hamster wheel of life, always going around in circles, never moving forward. And this can apply in so many areas not just with mistakes we’ve done but with mistakes other people have done to us. We’ll cover forgiveness in an upcoming podcast but when we choose to forgive someone, we really have to learn (however hard it may be) to then leave the offense in the past. If our husbands did something wrong, bad or horrible, and we make the decision and choose to forgive them, it is unfair for us to continue to bring that mistake up over and over again. It sets your relationship back all the way to the place where the offense happened and impedes your marriage and growth as both individuals and as a couple. The Past is the Past – Leave it there.
If someone said something awful to you and you decided to let it go – then truly let it go and let it stay in the past. Which means if you saw them again, you shouldn’t want to roll your eyes or not say anything to them at all. You shouldn’t be in fear or become an emotional wreck if you’re in their presence. Otherwise you only forgave them in word and not in truth. Now I will say with a disclaimer here that I completely understand that this is something that is easier said than done, especially depending on the circumstances surrounding what was done. However, what I am saying is that forgiveness is a choice and you have the power to not be affected by it by making the decision to forgive and to leave it, truly in the past. Unforgiveness gives the other party power over you because just their presence or the very thought of them affects your mood, changes your attitude & can set you off. But when you forgive, let it go and leave it all in the past, you take back that power. Again, we’ll cover more of Forgiveness in another episode.
Parents, it’s so important for us to realize that this is a different generation today than ours. I’m an 80’s baby and the change I’ve seen from when I grew up to the world my children now are growing up in is completely different. If I stayed with the same approach of, well this is how it was done back in my day and that’s what I expect today, I am going to miss what’s happening around me, lose a grip on reality and quite possibly lose touch with my children. We have to stay current with what is happening with our kids. Will it take us out of our comfort zones a bit? For sure, I know I certainly am. I still don’t get the purpose of Snapchat and Tiktok is a whole other story. But it’s the culture my kids are growing up in. My past is typewriters and the introduction of Nokia flip phones and AOL. But my present is with my 3 year old having conversations with Alexa in our kitchen playing Baby Shark songs and finding out the time. I cannot remain stuck in my past. I have to keep up with what is influencing and surrounding my children.
We have to step into the here and now and look toward our future. Learn from the mistakes of your past, don’t dwell on it. Use it to build your character and wisdom but do not let it define you. Do not let it control your mind and make you doubt who you are in Christ and the purpose that He has set out for your life. As you continue to walk in the path of righteousness remember that the Word of God says in Romans 8:1 that there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Do not allow condemnation to creep in and hold you hostage. You have been set free from your past. It is now up to you to get up, walk away from it and continue walking in your destiny.
Father right now we come before you thanking you for who you are and who you will always be and that is a Savior, redeemer, father and friend. We ask now for your forgiveness for every mistake we may have committed both knowingly or unknowingly and we ask that you cleanse our heart from all unrighteousness in Jesus name. We ask that you would free us from any bond that ties us up and binds us to our past. We break every soul tie, we come against every deceptive spirit and we take captive every thought that enters into our minds and tries to convince us that we are less than or that we are not forgiven. May your spirit of peace and grace surround us, we renounce all fear and doubt and we ask that your Holy Spirit would continue to guide us to all truth and that you would be glorified in our lives. Both now and forevermore, in Jesus name Amen!