Leaving the past behind

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Each year my family has a family reunion. Most of the people consist of the many descendants of my great grandparents. My dad, the unofficial family historian, posts a couple of posters on the wall each time he attends. One is a poster showing our family tree going way back. The other, much more popular, is a long piece of paper that goes foward to the present. At the top are my great grandparents, and below them are the many branches of the family that came from them. Everyone loves to find their branch and their own name. This poster gets updated every year as new children are born. I don't see how he keeps up with all that.

One interesting thing has happened concerning this second poster. Not only are blood family members listed, but spouses that marry into the family are also listed. Several of my female cousins came up to my dad and asked why the names of their ex-husbands were listed. He said it was because they were at one time their husbands and part of the family, and besides, they are a parent of the children listed below. They HAD to be listed. He could't ignore them and still have an accurate record. Even so they demanded these men's names be erased! As expected, my dad had to politely refuse to change the poster. The past cannot be changed.

No, our past cannot be changed. Each of us carries around baggage that we're not proud of. Old regrets, mistakes of youth, lost opportunities. We may try to forget, but sometimes that's impossible. One pastor I heard said that if you lose an eye in a bar fight, then get saved, you're still going to be a one-eyed Christian. Some sins carry a price even after we're saved.

The good news is salvation through Jesus, while it can't change our past, can change our future. The Lord will give us a path of recovery, and help us rebuild our lives if we'll seek Him for this. And even in those cases where there are permanent consequences, the Lord can do much to make the situation as palatable as possible. For example, my cousins might find their relationships with their ex's become amicable, and forgiveness may manifest.

Paul said in Phil 3:13-14, "...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." We Christians need to not allow the devil to beat us up over our pasts. Even if there are permanent consequences the deeds themselves are under the Blood, and the person that committed them is dead in Christ. We need to be future oriented people, referring back to our pasts primarily for the lessons we can learn. These can then be applied for a better future.

-- Anonymous, March 23, 2002

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