Religion

Faith Matters: God doesn’t want us wallowing in the mistakes and regrets of our past

You never know what’s going to wash up on the beach.

In 1992, nearly 28,000 rubber ducks were lost at sea in the Pacific Ocean. A shipping container going from Hong Kong to the U.S. fell off a ship, and the rubber duckies have been henceforth free to swim the world’s oceans.

For the last 26 years, they’ve traveled all over the globe to places such as Hawaii, the United Kingdom, South Africa and even the Arctic.

They just show up. Randomly. Rubber duckies on the beach.

You never know what’s going to wash up on the beach, and you also never know what’s going to keep washing up from your past.

Your kids won’t you let forget that you were never there when they were young, your parents won’t let you forget the decisions you made when you were a teenager, your wife won’t let you forget an old decision, and on and on it goes.

People in our life remind us of the mistakes we made and find twisted joy in not letting us forget.

If it’s not bad enough that these real voices exist in our lives to constantly remind us of our mistakes, we also have the voices in our heads.

The ones that tell us we’ll never be good enough, we’ll never finish, we’ll never be successful, we’re bad parents, bad students, bad friends and even bad Christians. To make it worse, we begin to believe that is how God feels about us, too.

The trash of our past washes up more and more.

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Dr. J. Phillip Hamm is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Palmetto.

I don’t think it has to be that way. God doesn’t want us wallowing in the mistakes and regrets of our past. He’s done too much to let us live that way.

What if instead of shame and regret we had something to defuse the accusation? What if when the memory of our failures comes to mind we have at our disposal the ability to put them to rest? What if we don’t have to be slaves to our past decisions or past failures? What if we had a way to shut the voices up and clean up the trash? I think we do.

The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Jesus Christ.” If you’re following Christ, your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. You’re not chained to your regrets.

You are, as Paul said 2 Corinthians 5:17, “a new creation, the old things have passed and all things have become new.” The key to these verses rests on us being in Christ. As hard as we try to make a fresh start or clean the slate by ourselves, we will always need outside, supernatural help. That’s where the work of Christ takes over.

When we surrender our lives to Christ, he has the supernatural ability to cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:9) and forget our sins (Psalm 103:12). He simply makes us new. And he offers us a brand new life where, in his eyes, the beaches are always clean.

Dr. J. Phillip Hamm is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Palmetto. You can reach the church at 941-722-7795 or visit www.fbcpalmetto.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Bradenton Herald written by local clergy members.

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