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It's called the past for a reason
by Anthony Tringale
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Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 MSG) "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh  and  new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP) Not that I am trying to sound accomplished, pompous, or anything like that, but I have, for the most part, gotten over a lot of the stupid things I did wrong in my past.  There is still some emotional baggage in the back of my proverbial closest that I feel the Holy Spirit is leading me to deal with, but for the most part "I'm good."   The last few months have brought me through a myriad of emotions.  It felt like I was jumping from emotion to emotion, sometimes literally.   Some weeks, feeling confident and optimistic about my future and still others, feeling like I would be stuck in the same place forever because of the wrongs I had committed in my life.  Through what seems a process, or a relationship, I was led on the path of freedom with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Currently I feel like I can breath, like I can realistically dream without feeling like I need to dream or like I have to dream so I can impress people making them believe I am going somewhere in life.  I'm not sure how most people handle the following scenario but I know how I handle it.  I will be out doing something, getting coffee let's say, and I'll see someone I haven't seen in awhile.  I typically say "hello" with a big smile on my face and then the question comes out of their mouth, the question I think is more of a gut reaction than it is the person genuinely caring.  "So what are you doing?" or What are you up to these days?"  I usually respond with something like, "Oh, I'm thinking of moving here or moving there."  Or "I'm helping this church or that church."  "I'm leading worship here."  or "I feel the Holy Spirit is leading me here or there."  I am rarely honest with my answers to these questions.  Not because I'm not really helping those churches or I'm not considering moving to this place or that place.  I'm not being honest in those situations because I'm not being honest with myself.  Why am I not being honest with myself?  Because I'm not admitting that I need to relax and deal with my issues.  I'm trying to create these grandiose ideas about what I'm doing in my life. Life is not about what you do, it's about who you are. How does that situation tie into my thoughts with this post?  Because I was running, or trying to run, from my past.  Actually, in some ways I was trying to run back into my past hoping I could somehow change the way things went down.  I don't know why I feel focusing on the negative and driving myself crazy with regret will ever change anything.  Because I know it won't.   By trying to run from my failures and not stopping to deal with the issues, I was dreaming someone else's dreams.  Rather, I was standing in front of people with a gun shot wound in my chest while holding a sign that read "I don't need a doctor."  I couldn't admit to myself that I screwed up and that I needed to be working on fixing those areas.  I couldn't tell people "I'm not doing anything except trying to allow God to heal me from my past mistakes."     In case you haven't realized it yet, everyone screws up.  We all make wrong decisions in our lives and then we deal with the consequences.  Everyone also reaches a point when the issue is not so much what you did wrong, rather, how you handle the knowledge of your wrong doing.  If I acknowledge what I did was wrong and I don't fix the issue or repent for what I did then the issue begins to build a home inside my soul.  It begins to grow until I can take no more pain.   It's very easy to not see the devil at work in our lives.  Let's take these issues of our past for example.  I commit a sin, or, let's say I hurt a friend.  After I acknowledge what I've done is wrong, I repent to God, I apologize to that person and make restitution. My sin or wrong is done and never to be remembered again.  What usually happens is somewhere between the repenting to God and the making restitution the devil sneaks in and begins to throw jabs at me.  He says things like, "you're a terrible person, you really screwed this one up.  Don't even try to fix the relationship. You can't be forgiven for what YOU did."  What's sad is how many people believe these lies.  They spend days, weeks, months, and sometimes years agreeing with the devil and accepting these lies.  They stay confined to their offense and become depressed or fake. What really and genuinely breaks my heart is seeing people that change their entire lives and transform who they really are so they can somehow mask the mistakes of their past.  They begin to work for their entire life to manage the pain of their wounds instead of seeing the doctor so He can fix them up and make them whole. I've been noticing a lot of people, Christians especially, that are being dragged down because of their past mistakes. They carry around these lies from the devil like baggage weighing them down.  Most Christians believe they are inherently evil people and by some miracle the grace of God keeps them from walking around murdering everyone they see.  When we accepted Jesus as our Lord we were given the mind of Christ.  When we accepted the Holy Spirit He began to live on the inside of us.  If that's the case than we are not inherently evil people any longer.  We still sin, we still screw up and make mistakes, but that's not the end of our lives.  Look back at the verse above.  "when we are united with The Messiah we get a fresh start..."  Is it possible to become united from The Messiah?  Yes.  When we sin, realize our sin, repent, and make restitution we are reunited with Him and become new again.  Our past is in the past.  Alicia Keys has a song with John Mayer and in the song one of the lines says "...It's called the past cause I'm gettin past and I ain't nothin like I was before..."  That's the mindset we should have after we have dealt with our issues from the past.   We are reunited with Jesus and our past is in the past.  Do we need to make right things that we have done wrong to people?  Yes, of course we do.  Look at Luke 19:1-9.  Zacchaeus has been converted by Jesus and he goes out to restore what he stole from the poor as a tax collector.  So yes, we should make restitution when possible to the people we have wronged. My point with this post was to give some sort of hope to those, like me, that are or were struggling with their mistakes from their past.  Jesus has redeemed you from the death of sin.  When you accepted Him or when you repented of your sins you were made new!  Glory to God! Stop filling yourself with regret, with depression, and with sorrow.  Stop listening to the devil telling you that you are a horrible person.  You've been made new in Jesus.  Begin to confess positive things over your life and believe the bible when it says "...anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start..." It's not until we move passed our past that we are able to step forward into our future. I will leave you with a bible verse I came upon this morning that really ministered to my heart. "Iniquities  and  much varied guilt prevail against me; [yet] as for our transgressions, You forgive and purge them away [make atonement for them and cover them out of Your sight]!" (Psalm 65:3 AMP)

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