My wife loves to talk. It’s okay for me to say this because she often shares a story with others of one of the first conversations she had with my Uncle Arnold when he joyfully said, “Erica sure can talk.” When doing so, she asks me when the conversation happened. I always reply, “April 2008 at the family farm in Maryland.” My past plays on a loop in my mind, so events that occurred years ago seem like last week. I relive the joy and pain of those experiences, and of course, one feels better than the other. It’s funny; I used to allow the painful memories to manipulate how I approached life in the present.
Andy Rectenwald delivered a wonderful message over the weekend. We often feel as if we are alone when life hits us with haymakers. Our regrets can outweigh our winning moments if we attempt to carry them by ourselves. For me, having a past that feels more present is lonely during the haunting moments, especially when I think no one can relate. But that’s when God comes into play. Andy mentioned that God loved us enough to come to earth, experience manipulation, betrayal, persecution, and death. God relates to everything we have experienced, are experiencing, and ever will experience. Because of God, those haunting moments of my past pain or the hurt I caused others are only moments. There’s no fear of the past, present, or future.
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”
I’ve been forgiven, and just as importantly, I have forgiven others. Andy said we can take the pain and hurt we carry and open our hands to God. He understands what we’re going through. I’m living proof of what the mercy of God can do, and so are you.
Do you have a difficult time letting go of your past? Do you understand that God knows we can’t handle everything on our own?
If it’s not CedarCreek, please get involved in a life-giving church. Join a Group to experience life with other Christians. Read Judges and other chapters of the Bible that focus on stories of manipulation. Learn how to forgive others and yourself.
Father God, thank you for the sacrifice you made to free us from our past, present, and future. Because I am loved by you, I know that I don’t have to live a life burdened with regret, nor am I held in place by the hurt caused by others. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to help move me in the right direction. May others experience your love to experience a life of purpose. Amen.
This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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