Bergen Evans once said, “We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”
This statement is loaded with truth if you live within the brevity of the moment and allow all the good and bad voices in your life to drown out the voice of a God that makes all things new.
Our relationship with the past is often directly connected to the way we perceive the divine, and how we view concepts like “regret”, “mistakes”, and “forgiveness.” It’s also important to consider how we view ourselves. Problems with the past are often tied to our sense of self-worth, the way we handle personal insecurities, and our perception of how we are viewed by others.
I’m probably a somewhat unconventional pastor.
While I spend a lot of time preparing sermons, working with ministry teams, and doing administrative work, I also spend a lot of my day floating around town speaking with locals about where they are in life, what they consider important, and what they think about God, church, and other issues of spirituality. One thing that I find consistently, is that a lot of people are troubled by their past.
Sometimes it’s a mistake they’ve made.
Sometimes it’s the passing of a loved one.
Often, it’s the attempt to recover from a breakup or divorce.
Occasionally it’s the struggle with confidence because of voices from the past.
Sometimes it’s a major regret.
Other times it’s a broken friendship they’d like to restore.
The list goes on and on.
People are often unable to live out the present because they are so chained to the past. I see it every day and I’ve experienced it myself. It’s a crippling problem and we feel as if the guilt and shame are so strong that there is no possibility for recovery.
[IN COMES JESUS]
Life is better on the other side. Redemption is possible. Forgiveness is a certainty. We don’t realize this because we’ve never truly channeled its power. We choose the pain of the past and this dictates our decisions, how we do relationships, and how we view God.
God becomes a tyrant that hangs the past above our shameful heads.
God pushes the knife further when we sense our greatest vulnerability.
God loves to see us hurt.
God seems distant.
God has given up on us.
Of course, all of this is untrue, but a very effective way to distract us from all God wants us to be. In reality, God forgives the worst of sins and completely restores and renews ALL things and openness of the floodgates of Living Water.
His desire is for us to come and take a drink.
My hope is that you’ll live into the fullness of this sacred experience and accept the life-changing invitation.