We cannot underestimate the power and influence that our negative past has over our present. It is very subtle how it creeps in from time to time. There are many people who have so much complication with their past that their present is a wreck. You must deal with that stronghold if you are to enjoy liberty, freedom, productivity and fulfilment. Many nations, people and individuals are still wallowing with the evil of the past; things that they can’t change and the pains they only play out in their imagination. Year after year nations commemorate catastrophes; re-awakening the hurts of the past to the demise of the present. The following scripture tells the story of people like that and the response that all of us should pay attention to.
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” Gen. 50:15-19 (NIV)
These were men that concealed their evil deed for several years. They were under a hideous oath not to divulge anything about what happened to Joseph. Now their past refused to go away even after Joseph showed them love. They were not convinced of his sincerity. That is exactly how many of us treat the love of God. Many people keep coming back to God to confess the same old sin over and over, without acknowledging that “God’s mercy endures for ever” They can’t accept that his love is everlasting. In this mood, they fail to enjoy the freedom that salvation brings.
The following scripture speaks about people who find it difficult to accept who we are now. There are many parents who still “babysit” their adult children. They “baby them” all about the places. They are others who cannot bear the site of our new level of life. They want us to still be “old fools” world without end. They see themselves as the “choiced, gifted, born-leaders, etc.” They are quick to play down other people’s achievements in very subtle ways. The Jews treated Jesus like that. The scripture says,
“Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him,” John 7:26-28 (NIV)
Jesus resisted their backward and parochial mentality. Most times people paint the false humility picture of this evil. However, the question is, would Jesus have been considered “humble” if he accepted their perception of him. Would Jesus have fulfilled his ministry better if he accepted their view about his divinity? While I don’t support pride or arrogance in anyway, I must stress that being who you are irrespective of what other people think of you, is the best life you can ever live.
You cannot make a difference in your generation being someone else. You must discover yourself and live it out. Sometimes, your life might be carved out for a future generation and the present system or community viewpoint cannot understand a thing about you or pay for your worth. Many things we enjoy today sounded foolish to the first people who heard about it. For example, the Wright brothers announced they could fly and were called “foul”; who dares undermined their claim today? You can name others. Many great inventions that were foolish to many people who first heard about them are just all around you (Just look around you where you are now)
Many “school drop-outs” are doing great exploits in many areas of life but their former brilliant old teachers still wonder about “that dull boy” they had committed to “would amount to nothing” garbage bins. You must deliver yourself through the power of God from your negative past. It is time to move on. Forgive those who you need to forgive, leave behind you those that refused to forgive your past. Forgive yourself and move on.
God has made you new. Live it.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:17-21. (NIV)