As I watch the characters on the screen squander away their youth between binges of alcohol and substance, I have to look away. Images flash through my head like a negative reel. Years of my life I can never get back.
I hear a voice that I know is not my Father’s saying, “Look at what could have been. Look at how you made a mess of things.” I try vehemently to shake it off. This shroud that threatens to cover my vision until I’ve lost all perspective, all sense of the freedom that is already mine.
Regret replaces the bridge into our future with a gateway into our past.
We forget about the grace that covers us once we are in Christ. We fail to remember the scripture which says He’s cast our transgressions as far as the eye can see. We get caught in a vicious cycle of recalling past lives, past offenses, moments in our lives that have already been bought by the precious blood of the only perfect One.
Do you need a reminder of the types of lives God uses for His Kingdom? I did. I open the pages of the Bible and let the words penetrate deep into that cavern of regret. Paul, man who spent years of his life killing innocent Christians before he was saved. David, a man who was called “a man after God’s own heart” spent his darker days engaging lust, adultery, jealousy and murder.
A life redeemed in Christ has nothing to do with the past and everything to do with the future.
He can take our darkness and turn it into the brightest light the world has ever seen. Because that is what God is in the business of doing. He took the darkest night on Calvary and turned it into Redemption’s radiance.
His Spirit convicts us of wrongdoing so that we can repent and move forward, not backward. Once we have given the transgression to God, He choses to remember it no more. Clinging to it is like picking at a wound that’s already been healed.
Paul, after being imprisoned for his faith, speaks of the importance of perspective.
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Forgetting what is behind. Oh, but that we would do the same.
When we live in our past, we belittle the high price that God paid for each one of us: his own son. He gave us freedom so that we could be free indeed.
Let’s throw off the tattered rags of regret and live like children of the King.