Sunday, February 14

People With Pasts

A dear friend of mine posted a blog talking about unwanted reminders of a situation in which he was betrayed by someone who should have loved him. This started as just a quick comment to encourage him -- it kept growing, as most things I start writing do, and it became evident that what I was sharing with Brock was simply, finally, a better explaination of what God has been showing me lately.

So here's the comment:

Oh Brock...I know that hurts. I know reminders of that hurt can sometimes sting more because it just opens up a wound. I know I can't feel that particular brand of pain because I haven't walked that path -- but I certainly know what betrayal feels like.

We're like puppies that grew up with a good master, one that gave them treats and taught them how to sit. But one day the master isn't good anymore and he kicks you. And from that day on -- even if you get a great master -- every time you see that boot you feel the healing broken bones crack beneath your muscles and skin all over again. And it hurts.

That's how I feel alot of the time in my strange and somehow developing (in the simplest way)relationship with my dad. It's difficult talking to him because I involuntarily feel the bruises and brokenness before I have the opportunity to enjoy the glimmer of hope.

Worse than those times are the times I remember the sins and horrid acts of my past. When a guy I dated shows up at work, or an estranged friend walks past me at WalMart or I smell certain wafts of dingy air... I remember all the things I did that hurt my family, friends, fiance but ultimately God. I can feel the self-inflicted scars start to bleed again in my heart and see the looks on their faces. And it hurts.

But the beautiful thing about unwanted reminders is the opportunity that always follows.
In the same moment that you remember your painful past there's the reminder that God pulled you through all that to this moment. This moment where He is reminding you that you just can not make it on your own - you couldn't then, you can't now, you won't later.

In an unwanted reminder He can show you exactly why you walk past that picture, run into that old friend, or smell that all too familiar grief.Because you need Him desperately. You are small and wounded by people who fail you. You are frail and unwise and you fail Him daily. But He's there.

Be strong and courageous, Brock. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.

So I have this past. In this past are some good things, happy memories, fun stories and precious few accomplishments. With the good comes lots of bad though. Things like a broken home, not much money, broken hearts, wounds, mistakes -- a whole lot of sin. And that's just the stuff one the outside -- I don't dare sit and sort through all the sin on the inside of me. I've done, said,and thought alot of awful things. There are thousands of things that I should have done but didn't. Not to mention all the things I did, but went about it in the wrong fashion. I've hurt many people, I've hurt myself, I've hurt my God.
I like to think sometimes that I'm done with all that. That now I've turned from all that hurt and all that sin and now I just won't have to deal with it anymore because I'm doing alright now which clearly means I'll be doing fine forever in all those departments...

Let me take this moment to declare that thought an enormous lie.

Because not only will I still get to remember those things, but I probably add ten more every second that I'm still breathing here. This is not where I should lose hope though. In the words of Mark Hall of Casting Crowns - "Your past isn't haunting God, so why is it haunting you?!"

Christ payed much too high a price for my sins to be taken away from me for me or anyone else to still be hung up on them. Jesus died for my past. It's a sobering thing, but it's a beautiful realization that I am free. I am free from those burdens, wounds, and weights. I not only don't have to carry them but I can't - because they're gone.

In light of His sacrifice and a cross lifted off my shoulders, when I remember my past or am reminded of it's weight, I shouldn't sulk, or feel that hurt - No! I should rejoice in the power and love of my God who brought me out of it. In light of my rescue, I should not feel guilt or lingering pain, I should (because now I can ) soar on the wings of eagles in His world and His wonderous will for my life.

We all share the common weight of pasts. We all share the presence of crap in those pasts. I pray that you know the Savior I know, and the freedom He brings to people with pasts.