I went to the dentist yesterday for my semiannual appointment. During the initial phase of the checkup, the dental hygienist used a pick tool to scrape below my gum line to remove plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease and cavities, and she then cleaned and flossed my teeth. Throughout the checkup, she was checking the current condition of my mouth, teeth, and gums. I am fortunate that in my lifetime I have only had five cavities. Those cavities all occurred when I was a teenager during the initial appointment with a new dentist, so I question the validity of those cavities, but nonetheless, I have very good teeth.
Just as my five cavities from many years ago do not determine the condition of my mouth today, our past mistakes, past bad choices, past failures, and past sins, do not determine our present or our future. Our past is our past, and while we cannot redo what is history, we can move on from those things with the help of Jesus. So just how can we not allow our past to dictate today and tomorrow? Let us offer a few ideas.
The Bible is clear that if we repent of our sins that God both forgives and forgets. (That doesn’t mean there will not be consequences however.) Acts 3:19 tells us – “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
You might have really blown it in the past, maybe even repeatedly, and you think that you are “too damaged” to be restored and used by God. It is sometimes hard to accept God’s forgiveness because we struggle to forgive ourselves, but God wants us to walk in the freedom that comes with His forgiveness. We read this in Hebrews 8:12 – “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Those “you are too damaged” thoughts come from Satan; they never come from God. He wants you to resist dwelling on the yesterday and focus on today. Don’t just take our word for it, instead, read what it says in Isaiah 43:18 – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Use your past as a launching pad for a brighter tomorrow; don’t allow your past to be an anchor that drags you down. “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)
And lastly, make these words found in Psalm 51:10 the first words you say each morning – “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”
New Bern, North Carolina