BY LEANN DILBECK –
As we are closing out one year and welcoming a new one, it’s common to reflect. Maybe, it’s situations we wish we would’ve handled differently. Hopes not realized. Decisions we regret. And, hopefully those are balanced by experiencing the fulfillment of God’s blessings, gratefulness for His redemption from our poor choices or maybe it’s joy from new friendships or brand new lives that have been born. If there was a music montage of this past year, what songs would be playing and what memories would be flashing through your mind?
Lots of people have opinions on how healthy it is to reflect on your past and I believe it’s like most things… it’s ok as long as it is in moderation. To appreciate where you’re going, you must remember where you’ve been.
There’s no better way to learn than from the “School of Life.” So many times, more is learned from life experiences than from any book, or parental advice, or Google search you can come across. And that means also more can be learned from mistakes and failures than from our successes.
Perhaps nothing better defines you more than what you bring away from those mistakes or poor choices.
Unfortunately, at one time or another, we are guilty of letting the mistake define us or we choose to let it be how we “define” others. When you see others or look in the mirror, do you see the broken girl who aborted her child in high school? The man who cheated on his wife? The teenage boy who didn’t take responsibility for his actions? The wife who put work before her family? The husband/father who spent more time at the bar than at home? The woman who missed every one of her child’s games because she was strung out on pain pills?
Watching how God can transform people and redeem their stories and circumstances to me is as beautiful as the birth of a brand-new baby… because each are a brand new creation. Accepting Christ and allowing Him to be the Lord of our life is truly life-changing and no longer do we have to be remembered or known for our sins because He forgives as far as the East is from the West… and if our most gracious God can do that, why can’t we? 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
When someone humbles themselves before the Lord and turns from their sinful ways, they are a new creation. Does it mean they will not sin again? Absolutely not! But hopefully, it does mean that they will seek God’s wisdom in their daily lives. None of us are perfect but thank goodness God hates only the sin but loves the sinner! And it is only He who can redeem our lives and our circumstances to use ultimately for His glory!
That girl who aborted her child may also be the counselor who talks your daughter out of making the same mistake. The cheating husband may now have come to know the Lord after experiencing the forgiveness of his wife and now they lead a family-focused life group.
Don’t be shackled by your failures! Don’t put someone else in bondage by judging them for their mistakes! We can all be redeemed! See yourself and others as a new creation, a continuing work of art, as a child of the one true King!
There is a reason the windshield is much bigger than the rear-view mirror. You can glance back occasionally to see where you’ve been and to remember where God delivered you from but focus your attention on the wide-open view in front of you… I can guarantee that there will sometimes be curves and other times mountains and an occasional rain shower or two so adjust your speed accordingly but remain focused on your destination. There will also be fog so just rely on the Light and remain focused on your destination. Keep your tank fueled on His premium Word and if you need a hotel to rest along they way… stop where they leave the Light on for you but remain focused on your destination.