I was discussing a buddy-read recently with one of my buddies and we stumbled upon a topic that I believe passionately upon. This is a subject that I’ve been running against a lot and after ranting to my friend I decided to write a post about it.
I have noticed that a prominent problem in our society is constantly shoving people’s past misdeeds and mistakes in their faces. Someone posts about some good thing someone did and someone else comments talking about some stupid or scandalous thing they did three years ago. Or someone digs up the follies someone did in his youth. Or digs up the war crimes of a nation and forevermore bashes the innocent citizens & descendants for it.
Is this right?
Is that what God does to us? Is He constantly rubbing in our faces the sins and mistakes we’ve done? No! He forgot them. He put them aside. He moved on.
Nowadays the trend is to strip all the greatness off a person and expose all the meanness and ugliness and nastiness.
“[I]t’s written down for all men to read—there have been times in our history when we fought on the side of the powers of darkness, when we did what was cruel, treacherous, mean, lazy, shabby. And now, when we want to be strong to fight for the right, half the world taunts us with the shady places in our past, and our misdeeds rise up like grim spectres, mocking us—”*
*Enemy Brothers, by Constance Savery.
But what happened to second chances? What happened to redemption?
There is no redemption without messing up first.
Accept that there were mistakes and wrong. Don’t deny it. Face it. Condemn it. Learn from it. Appreciate what that which was good. Remember it. Then move on. Make up for it. Change. Press forwards instead of digging up what’s behind you.
Why make everyone feel negative and depressed? Why make us all feel there is no good in this world? There is good. There is beauty. There is wonder. There is hope. Choose to see it. Acknowledge the bad in the world, and condemn it, but choose to believe in goodness and Hope. Choose to see the Light in the darkness.
And what makes a true hero? A true hero is one who overcome his flaws. Who moved on despite his flaws. A true hero doesn’t always have it right. A true hero has to sweat and bleed and weep. A true hero is one who fought and didn’t give up. A true hero isn’t perfect—a true hero is a warrior.
So don’t ignore the flaws and misdeeds of the heroes. Admit them, condemn them, and determine not to imitate these. But admire the goodness of the heroes and strive to emulate that. David was an adulterer. Paul was a murderer. Peter denied the Lord. Abraham feared and lied. These men are heroes of the faith—not because they were perfect, but because they were strong in the Lord and they fought on. They didn’t stay where they were. They didn’t wallow in the mud. They stepped out and cleaned up and moved on.
And those that messed up in the past but are now doing good? Don’t shove their misdeeds in their faces. Give them a chance to redeem themselves. Admit they did wrong, and don’t copy it, but see what they do that is great & appreciate that. And know that they’ll always fall. We’re not perfect. We have to ask forgiveness, pick ourselves up, go back to the Lord for cleansing and renewing of strength, and keep going.
True heroism is moving on despite your past. True redemption is cleansing you of your past. True love is helping you move on from your past. True hope is that there is more than the past.
And when we all stand there, messed up and dirty and broken, that’s when Jesus shines forth. The Perfect One. The True Hero.
My friend said something that sums the whole thing up and I’m quoting it all here:
“It’s so important and valuable to give people and everything else a second chance to do better and go on in the future, without holding up their mistakes. We are not defined by our past! We are not defined by our mistakes. That’s the whole point of the Gospel. We are new, and our identity is in Christ, not in our past failings and sins. We should not dwell on those, except to overcome them. And it’s so wrong for everyone else to do that and throw it in people’s faces.”
It’s all about second chances. It’s about redemption. It’s about love. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about hope.
Let’s stop tearing each other down. Instead, let’s encourage and build each other up. Let’s show the Hope. Let’s show the Light. Let’s show forgiveness and love. Let’s be like Christ.