Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
February 7, 2010
Cut loose from the past we can enjoy being forgiven
A backward look can be helpful or it can be depressing. It depends on how you view the past. You can recall that in the “good old days” life was lived at a slower pace. People were seldom stressed out from living in “the fast lane.” How nice life was back then.
The danger is that we tend to romanticize the past and paint too rosy a picture of the days of yore. Was life really better in the days of our parents? In many ways life was worse not better for past generations. Some of our parents, for example, used an “outhouse” because there was no toilet in their home. Many of our relatives did not even know a family that had an indoor toilet.
When it comes to our mistakes, a look at our past sometimes can be paralyzing. Some of us feel much guilt about wrong things we did when we were younger. We are ashamed to admit how foolish we once were. A just God will surely not forgive us. What we did was too bad for God to forgive.
To think like this puts us in bondage to the past. This bondage binds us to our mistakes or what the church calls our “sin.” So we are not free to enjoy life today. Guilt blocks us from inhaling the pure joy of knowing that we are alive by the pleasure of the God who not only made us but also loves us.
Christians have the unique privilege of helping people find forgiveness for the past. Forgiveness frees us from the past and helps us overcome guilt. It puts a song in our hearts and when we start singing we begin to soar, like a kite free to enjoy the wind.
The church calls this forgiveness “good news.” It is indeed good news to discover that your sins are forgiven whether by God or by another person with whom you have been estranged. “I forgive you” are three of the sweetest words any of us can ever hear.
That is the message the church has for the world: God forgives you. Such news is not only good news; it is the best news the human mind can ever embrace. It is so wonderful that people often find it impossible to believe that God has forgiven them. So it helps to hear the amazing words, “Your sins are forgiven,” spoken by a caring friend who has personally experienced this forgiveness. Then hearing and believing that good news can become a liberating moment for the person who accepts it.
You may be wondering how the Bible fits into all this. Well, the Bible in one sense is the “good news” Book. From Genesis to Revelation there are people much like us who are warning people to stop doing wrong and turn to God. Why? Because God loves them and has forgiven them. The world says, “What is the proof that this is true?” The Bible says, “The proof is God’s gift of his son to die on the cross for our sins.”
The people in the Bible were ordinary people God used in extraordinary ways. Today he wants to use ordinary people like us to help guilt-ridden people understand they are forgiven. We have good news for people in bondage. If they believe they are forgiven, they can be cut loose from the past and enjoy the sheer thrill of being loved and forgiven.
I will bet my last dollar that you know some troubled person who needs to hear this good news. And it might make your day if they heard it from your lips. Sharing it could be like offering a cook drink of water to someone dying of thirst.
After all, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Zechariah – all those guys are gone. They had their turn. Now you and I are up to bat. + + +