Forward In Christ
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS
Which one of us does not look back at our life with some shame and/or regret? Who doesn’t have some skeletons in their closet? The big question is why are we looking backwards? We can’t change the past. We are not assured of tomorrow. We only have the present. How will we live out today? I invite you to read more:
At the end of this month I will be facilitating a two day retreat in a prison. I was blessed to speak in this same prison a year ago. One of the things that I came away with last year from my interactions with these men was their deep sense of regret for the mistakes they had committed.
I have been in the preparation mode for this retreat for some time now. One of the key points that I want to share with these men at this year’s retreat, and with all of you here today is this: while regret for our mistakes can be good if it causes us to change our ways going forward, hanging on too tightly to regret can become a strong tool for Satan. Satan hates God’s mercy towards our sins, and he wants to keep us bound in chains for the things of our past.
Who amongst us doesn’t harbor some regrets for our past misdeeds? The fact remains that no matter what mistakes any of us have made, none of us can go back and rewrite history in order to correct the wrong.
In my writings and in all of my speaking engagements, I acknowledge my own past sins and mistakes. I realize now that it is not the mistakes that really matter but what we do after the mistakes that counts. If we are weighed down and crushed under regret for our past sins, then it becomes very hard to move forward. If on the other hand, we learn and grow from those mistakes and we avoid making them in the future, we have gained wisdom.
Paul states this best in Philippians 3:13-14 when he states: “Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”
If we seek forgiveness with contrite hearts for past mistakes, God offers it through His Son Jesus Christ. After His forgiveness, our sins are as far from God as East is from the West. God wants us to experience joy again.
Paul also gives us hope in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when he tells us: “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” Then after giving us hope he also gives us a challenge. In 2 Corinthians 5:18 he tells us that Christ has given us a ministry of reconciliation. Because of Christ, God does not hold our trespasses against us. We have been entrusted with that same message. We are called to forgive others who trespass against us, but we must also learn to forgive ourselves.
Let’s work at letting go of the past. Let’s live today for Christ. God has a history of calling people Who have made mistakes to do great things in His Kingdom. Here is just a small list:
Samson – Was a womanizer.
Samaritan Woman – Divorced.
Noah – Was a Drunk.
Jacob – Was a cheater.
David – Was an adulterer and a murderer.
Jonah – Ran from God.
Peter – Denied Christ three times.
Martha – Worried too much.
The Disciples – Fell asleep while praying.
Paul – Persecuted Christians before becoming one.
Our history is still being written. Like Paul, let’s look forward to what lies ahead and let’s keep our eyes on the prize of Jesus Christ. Let’s make our history, still to be written, one that will have no regrets!
Father God, guide me and strengthen me to live a life worthy of your calling. Help me to forgive my past misdeeds and lead me on to a life of holiness. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
- Choosing To Be Orphans - June 4, 2023
- Competing Voices - May 28, 2023
- Sharing His Kingship - May 21, 2023
Brian, I tend to binge read your articles, which is why I’m so late in responding to this one. Theologians tell us that forgiveness involves 2 people. In the case of forgiving ourselves, it is Jesus who is forgiving us. When we don’t forgive ourselves, we block Jesus’ forgiveness. He has already forgiven us, it is we who don’t allow it. It could be any one of the seven deadly sins which causes it, whether it be pride, etc. It’s the “I’m not worthy”. Of course we’re not worthy, but it’s Jesus who makes us worthy by His calling us. Peter did not feel worthy, however, Jesus, in His great love, came down to Peter’s level when He asked the third time, “Do you love Me?” by using the Greek word for brotherly love, rather then the word “agape” which means all encompassing love, which Peter could not bring himself to use.
Your are absolutely correct in that Jesus has commanded us to “Go, and make disciples of all nations…”, which we cannot do without having accepted His love and forgiveness before sharing that with others. Thank you for having shared these thoughts as I needed reminding of these at this point in my journey. God bless,
Thanks for posting your thoughtful response. May God’s blessing be with you today and always!
Very nice and to the point…thanks Brian for reminding us that some of God’s best were human and failed at times….
Thanks Bill….God bless!
Excellent piece. So much truth in it. May God bless your ministry to the prisoers.
Thanks for writing and for your prayers for the prisoners.
Thank you my brother, and I will pray for your upcoming talk. May God Bless you and guide you in all that you do, that you may continue to bring others to know him.
Thanks for the prayers. May God’s blessings be with you as well. Thanks for writing.
I’m most positive the Holy spirit will touch these men of their past. forgiving our past is a journey of mercy of a Loving God in our life.
AMEN to that! Thanks for writing Anthony.
Thank you for your letter tonight! I needed to read that for myself! I enjoy your letters and look forward when I can once again see you in person to hear your message! I pray your eyesight is tolerable and you can continue to speak to us, as you did at St. Patrick’s parish at Andalusia, IL.
Thank you for writing to me. I am glad the Holy Spirit touched you through these words. I very much enjoyed my trip to your parish. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to come again soon. Until then please say hello to my many friends there. May God’s blessings be with you.