Recently an old friend of mine was digitising his old photographs and he sent me some photographs dating almost 50 years back! The images brought back sweet memories.
Memories, however, are not all sweet. Some, we like to recall because they evoke a sense of joy. Some, we try to shut out as they bring to mind negative feelings of sadness, pain or hurt. And some are simply lost on us. No matter how we treat the past as water under the bridge; some past experiences can become emotional baggage that weigh us down.
While it is said that our present is shaped by our past and the future is determined by our present; this statement alone is fatalistic. It implies that our future is hopelessly bound by our history. Of course, there are consequences to our past mistakes and bad judgements. These, however, do not have to be millstone around our neck. Notwithstanding our past, by the grace of God, there is hope for our present and future! Take heart with these timeless truths of God’s promises:
Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Don’t let the past shackle us because God is able to forgive our past/sins. And don’t be anxious about the present with all its difficulties. The Shepherd is with us each day. Notice that in Psalm 23 almost all the verbs are in the present tense. This is a Psalm for Today: He makes me, He leads me, He restores, He guides, He is with me, He comforts me, He prepares a table for me, He anoints; my cup overflows. If we walk with the Shepherd, then He guarantees our future with Him.
While we can’t change our past/sins; God can. He will forgive and blot out. Our past is what we used to be, our present is how we choose to be and our future can be filled with hope if we make the right choice today. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” Today is always a good day to choose to walk with God or to return to Him.
By Shi Pau Soon, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 5 January 2020)