making peace with one’s past

Awhile back I had to laugh even out loud when I heard a friend around my age say that looking back on his life, he had absolutely no regrets. I think if he would have explained it further, I would have been able to connect the dots to make sense of what he was saying, but given the fact that others were present and time was limited, I understood (or misunderstood) it to mean, no regrets about past decisions, period.

Of course hindsight is closer to 20/20 and we’ll always be learning more later, which will put some decisions which seemed right at the time in doubt. Life is complicated. As scripture says, we don’t know why we do the things we do at times, but the Lord can direct us in spite of that, or lead us on a path that is good and brings glory to him.

I have plenty of regrets, things I wish I would have done differently. I could have done better in most things simply by adhering to what I knew scripture said which in most cases would have helped me make a better decision. More times than not, I was moved by fear. Only a mature understanding of scripture and God’s way revealed in it could have helped me prevent some of the mistakes of the past. Other errors were over matters which I surely rationalized, but deep down I knew better. These are more like the obvious in your face actual sins.

Of course there’s always grace and forgiveness available in and through Jesus. The fallout from some past sins for some of us may well remain the rest of our lives. But God’s presence and peace can come and be ours in spite of what we may have to go through. I can’t help but think of the aftermath of David’s sin. When he repented, God forgave, but the consequence of his sin was grave for years to come. Even so, he died in peace, “a man after God’s own heart.” That was grace, grace, and more grace. That is the God who is, who we know and serve in and through Jesus.

And so we want to learn from our past, seek to do better in the present, and above all cast ourselves and our loved ones, indeed all of life on God and his mercy. Believing that the future is bright, that there is indeed hope for us and yes, for the world, in and through Jesus.

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