Old Resolutions and New Regrets

WORDS FROM W.W. December 29, 2010

Which is it that we focus on…the end of a year, or the beginning of a new year? Are we more prone to concentrate on what was or what could be?
I’ve noticed something the last few days. The past too often anchors us from sailing into new uncharted waters. Many would say that the past helps us learn what mistakes we can never make again, or, said another way, the errors of our ways help guide us in a smarter direction.
There is truth in that, but there is also regrettable truth that prevents us…hold us back…from a true walk of faith in the future.
For instance, I believe there are more people who are haunted and weighed down by their past than there are people who just blow off their past with an absence of repentance. Even though we talk about the grace of God and receiving forgiveness for our sins through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, I encounter so many Christians who can’t shake the chains of their pasts off.
We “sloganize” it in our theology with some trite sayings like “Let go and let God” and “Know God, know peace; no God, no peace.” If the darkness of my past continues to shadow my present it will also gray my future. Slogans don’t clear the slate.
Freedom to go forward only comes from trusting, truly trusting, that Jesus was not blowing smoke at us. He meant what he said. As you read the gospels there are a number of encounters that Jesus has with people who can’t experience freedom in their lives because of their pasts. Most of these conversations are witnessed by some of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, who, ironic as it sounds, won’t let the people forget their pasts.
There’s an interesting encounter that Jesus has with a blind man in John 9. The disciples of Jesus ask their leader a question: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
The question seems insensitive and head-shaking, but the question is there because the disciples had been indoctrinated with that kind of thinking. It’s what they had been taught as truth by the religious leaders before Jesus. It echoes the belief of the day that a person can’t be freed from what has been. If you read the rest of the encounter that follows the healing of this blind man (John 9:1-41) that deeply-ingrained shackled belief becomes powerfully evident.
How might the Body of Christ help cut the chains from the anchor to the past to help people look towards the future without rear view mirrors attached? I believe Jesus desires for us to be continually renewed with no regrets.
And the thing is that we will fail again, as sure as peanut butter is peanut, but he is faithful to forgive us and point us once again to a future that is full of purpose and potential.

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