By Not Known
Many people live with a sense of a bad past. We may have a sense of a bad childhood with overly strict, uncaring, foolish or abusive parents. Or perhaps there were experiences at school or with friends, strangers or neighbours that leave us scared. Maybe our sense of a bad past is bound up with foolish choices or sinful actions on our part: we chose the wrong course, the wrong life partner, the wrong investments or the wrong behaviour.
We may feel trapped by that bad past and believe that we can never escape it. There is no doubt that our past experiences help shape and make us into what we are today. However they need not trap us.
The Bible teaches that God was there working for good before we were born and before any of these bad things came into our life. Our frame was known to him into our mother’s womb and he wrote our days in his book before the first of those days came to be (Ps 139:15-16). Furthermore, those who love the Lord have the assurance that he works all things in our lives for our good (Rom 8:28). That’s all things, not just the good things.
Think about that. The bad things of our past are known to God, written in his book of our life and are used for our good. This does not stop them being bad things that hurt us. Nor does it stop our sinful choices from still being sinful. But it does mean that our sovereign God somehow weaves all this together for good. In short, our bad past is still there, but God was there before and through the bad things.
The death of Jesus is a wonderful example of God being present and working for good through evil. It is also the means by which our bad past can be effectively set aside. In 1 Cor 6:9-10 Paul faces the reality of a church whose members had a wicked past before their conversion – so wicked that it put them under God’s judgement. However, that past was set aside through the blood of Jesus that washes away sin and through the Holy Spirit who makes us more godly in our actions (1 Cor 6:11)
It can be painful to face our bad past. But we need not be trapped by it. The Christian can face the past, bring it to the Cross for forgiveness and seek the sanctifying presence of the Spirit to rise above it. Our bad past may leave painful scars, but it has passed in a profound sense once brought to Christ and God is working it for good.