30/30: Rear View Mirror. Scarlet Letters. Never Lies.

19 02 2008

hawaii-lava-0178-20050405.jpg“I don’t think this is safe!” A good friend from Indiana freaked out as he got into my car on trip to Chicago. Driving with me, his fear was justified…

  1. Hoosiers don’t drive over the speed limit. I’m well over the speed limit when I’m still on the On Ramp to the freeway.
  2. My rear view mirror fell off the windshield and was lying my back seat of my Buick Century.

I reassured him, “Who needs a rear view mirror? I don’t need to know where I’ve been. I only need to know where I am going. Get in!”

In life, the evil one desires to get us to live our lives looking into the rear view mirror of Shame. We obsess over painful things that have happened in the past. And if Satan has his way, we connect what happened to us or what we did with who we are. He slaps on us a Scarlet Letter that we feel we are stuck with it the rest of our lives. Then we internalize it and let it define who we are. It’s like this… “So and so rejected me, so I am Worthless. I failed at work, therefore I am a Failure. I dreamt of great marriage, but now I’m Divorced. I am no good. I messed up sexually. I’m Dirty. How could God ever love me?” Even when your the Victim of somebody else’s sin, you sometimes still carry this guilt. It wasn’t your fault, yet you feel like it was and you just can’t seem to get over that.

In our desperation, we separate ourselves from God and others and Satan begins to whisper the “Never” lies, as he locks you in prison tormented by your past. “I’ll never get over this. My life will never be the way it could have been or should have been. I’ll never have a good marriage. I can never recover from this. No matter what I do, I’m always marked. Try as hard as I want, I will never get through this. I will never have everything that God wants me to be. I’m trapped. I can’t get out. I’ll never fully recover”

But Christ wants to set us free from the Shame Prison we’ve locked ourselves in. The truth is this: You are not what you did. You are not what someone did to you. You are who God says you are. A guy named Paul, who carried a M for Murderer on his chest and in the rear view mirror of his life, said this about Christ. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 No matter what you’ve done. No matter who you’ve done it to. No matter how many times you’ve done it. No matter who you’ve hurt or whose hurt you, when you begin a relationship with Christ, He wants to set you free. Jesus went to the cross to pay for your sin, so you don’t have to pay for it anymore. You can’t change the past, but Christ can change your future. He offers you the gift of forgiveness and a future. If you haven’t received the gift of a relationship with Christ, what is holding you back? Today’s the day to surrender all the sins of your past to Christ and let Him rewrite your future that includes new words…Forgiven, Self-Respect, Dignity, Victorious. It’s never too late to be who you might have been.

As a follower of Christ, when those moments of shame popped into Paul’s mind he said this “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14 Stop looking in the rear view mirror. If Christ has forgiven you, it’s time to forgive yourself. When you live life looking in the rear view mirror of your past, we will definitely crash and ruin your future.

When I moved away from Indiana, I gave the rear view mirror to my friend with the verse from Philippians. He didn’t begin a relationship with Christ until the 2nd half of his life…and despite the junk in his past, God is now using him to help others in full time ministry at a church. He sent me this note…“Tim, Just wanted you to know that the rear view mirror you gave me is on display in my office. I draw strength from it daily! Thank you.”

It’s never too late to be who your might have been.

This Sunday…My Secret: My Depression

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