We all mess up. Some of us pretend like we don’t, but in one way or another, we do. I just want to let you know that it’s okay. I mess up, I repent of it, and I move on because shame doesn’t live here anymore.
Lately, in the church-world news, there have been a few hot topics concerning a few key Christian leaders. One of those is Mark Driscoll, a pastor of a multi-campus church called Mars Hill based of out Seattle, who has said a number of things in the past that have caught up with him. The other is Michael Gungor, a singer/songwriter who rejects the literal interpretation of certain sections of the Bible. I am in no way defending either men but I have such a hard time hearing all the condemnation being casted at them. It takes me back to a story in the Bible where these religious people caught a woman in adultery and, under the law at that time, her penalty was death by stoning (where they throw rocks at you until you die). So, the religious people asked Jesus what they should do and he said something along the lines of “whichever one of you hasn’t messed up, you can throw the first stone.” Good one, Jesus.
You mean to tell me that when people mess up I’m not suppose tear them down? Who knew?
I hope none of these “religious people” ever witness me in one of my darker moments, and yes they do exist, because I would be forever condemned in their minds, regardless of my repentance afterwards. The truth is, all of us have a past. Some are more colorful than others, but we all have things that we have done that we regret. The good news is, while we all do have a past, we also have a future. Your past doesn’t define who you are, it prepares you for who you are going to be. It doesn’t matter who you were, it doesn’t stop you from who God created you to be. Sure, we miss certain opportunities and special moments in our past because of our mistakes, but the good news is that we have control of our future. Life doesn’t have to look like it used to because we can change what we are doing right now…isn’t it great?
Imagine you are driving a car. Located on the windshield is a rearview mirror which allows for you to see the things that are behind you. When we are driving our car, our focus isn’t on the rearview mirror, our focus is looking straight ahead at what is in front of us while occasionally checking to see what is going on behind us. However, we don’t always live our lives the same way. Instead of looking at what is in front of us, a lot of times we get stuck on what has gone on behind us. When we do this, we take the focus off of where we are heading and put it back into places we’ve already been.
We need to quit focussing on the mess of our past and bring our attention back to the glory that is coming.
The rearview mirror is important because it allows us to reflect on everything in our past, but it shouldn’t be the focus of our lives or be able to hinder our future. Don’t let what is behind you distract you from what is in front of you. Don’t let what is behind you distract you from what God has for you. The only purpose of your past is to remind you what God has done in you.
To end the story, after Jesus outwitted the religious people, he spoke with the women. He said “Does no one else condemn you, then neither do I. Now go and sin no more.” It is really important to understand that the first thing Jesus says to her is that I don’t condemn you for the things you have done. Your past doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do from this moment forward. “Now go and sin no more.” We have one life and one chance. Whether your past is what you want it to be or not we can’t really control, but there is one thing we can control. Who will you be today?