Following in the footprints of Jesus


The sign read, “Every saint has a past — Every sinner has a future”.  Such a simple statement, but so very true.

The Psalmist reminds us that “there is none righteous, no not one” (Psalm 14:3, 53:3) and the apostle Paul wrote that we have “all sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  (Romans 3:23).  Self-righteous judgement has no place in the life of a Christian for we understand that sinless perfection does not exist in this life.

Becoming a Christian does not insulate us from sin.  1 Corinthians 10:12 teaches us that we need to be aware how easily each one of us can fall.  Human nature — and Satan’s determination to claim us for himself — means we are constantly subject to temptation — and with that temptation invariably comes sin, even though God has given us all the strength to resist if we really put our mind to it.

As Christians, we accept that we all have made mistakes in the past, that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards, but we also accept that no matter what we have done the blood of Christ has the power to wash it away and set us free of its penalty.  Yes, every sinner has a future.

But what happens when the past keeps interfering with the present?  When resentment, bitterness and hatred cloud our thinking and stop us truly forgiving or from living a fulfilling life now?

We are not animals operating or functioning on instinctual drives.  We are made in the image or likeness of God Himself.  We have minds that can think beyond the habits we have drifted into.  He has given us power over the past, the ability to make decisions today, and the potential to direct our paths towards a better future.  We do not need to go around in circles or be held captive by things that have happened in the past.

If the past is hurting us, we have the power to move on.  With the awareness of yesterday is acceptance today and hope for tomorrow.  We do not need to stay locked into things that hurt us many years ago — whether those things were of our own making or brought about by another’s actions.  We can choose to understand and move towards a better place — a place of healing rather than of bitterness or hatred.

Whatever happened in the past can be forgiven.  Indeed, it must be forgiven, if we are to enjoy the forgiveness of our Heavenly Father ourselves (Mark 11:26).

To dwell in the past is to be like Lot’s wife.  It will cost us our happiness in this life, as well as our happiness in eternity.

© Bevan Collingwood 2010