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Mourning My Past

Have you been hurt and hurt others in the past? God has the Remedy.

I guess it comes with age, experience, and learning, but at a certain moment in time, you come to realize a few things about the life you have lived. See if you can relate to my recent realization:

Ignorance Is Bliss

I realize I have been living in ignorance, handed down the lies of tradition that served to keep me afraid and distrustful. When I had seen a little of the light on the horizon, I had not pursued it with the fullest vigor; instead, I was still caught-up in the pursuit of numbing my pain with temporary pleasures or materialism.

I hurt many precious souls up to this point in my life. I have no excuses. It was the behavior of an immature human being who made little to no effort to rise above the quagmire of immorality, because it was just so comfortable there.

When you are in the pit, you do not know much of else. It becomes home.

Home is comfortable, no matter how miserable it is.

Through the grace of God, He never gave up on me. Of course He didn’t!

And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

John 17:3 (NLT)

Through some miraculous circumstances, I heard about God. Hearing about God is the first step in getting to know Him!

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

I like how the Contemporary English Version puts it:

No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.

Romans 10:17 (CEV)

My paraphrase:

Nobody can have a loving relationship with God without having trust in God. You cannot trust God if you do not know God. The first step in knowing God is to learn about Jesus.

I learned about the power and majesty of God. I learned how Jesus was front and center in a great controversy between God and an Enemy. I learned how God the Son came to earth, became a human being, lived a perfect life and died in my place.

(Back then, I was taught it was all about a legal accounting, and I still believed God was going to torture and kill those who did not love Him back.)

As time went on and I read more of the Bible, I began asking more questions, like, Why resurrect the dead only to torture and kill them? Was it a final, “I told you so” to the wicked?

That did not seem like something a God of love would do.

So I kept asking questions.

Knowledge Brings Truth

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

God loves questions! He loves when we exercise our thinking and reasoning. He gave us the ability to think and reason because love can only thrive in free-will, sentient beings. We have autonomy, because wants the service of love, not of slaves. A slave only serves because of the threat of punishment.

The truth is never afraid of inquiry.

I learned more and more about God, from friends and family, from books and videos and songs.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4–7

Is that what you were taught about love? Or were you taught that love has limited patience? Were you taught that love is kind to those who deserve it? Were you taught that love demands you behave perfectly or love would be withdrawn? Were you taught that love keeps track of when you fail and waits to punish you?

It is a rare human being who has been taught in childhood what the Bible really says about God and about love. I feel blessed to have been chased by a God that never gives up.

I do question why He did not reach me sooner. As soon as I was able to reason, the truth about my nature and His nature could have proven quite beneficial. That will be an eye-opening discussion when I finally meet with God face-to-face. No doubt, my stubborn and selfish nature was a large part of my remaining in ignorance.

Of course, God will not violate free will. He must tread a very fine line between enticing me into following Him and scaring me into following Him.

Fear prevents the healing of the infection of selfishness.

Knowledge Brings Peace

Imagine a doctor who prescribes medicine to heal an alcoholic’s liver malfunction. The alcoholic has to stop drinking the poison for the medicine to work! Or if the patient with an open wound, infected and oozing puss, refuses to take the medicine and dress the wound, the infection will get worse and worse until the patient succumbs and dies.

Fear in the heart prevents healing. Fear prevents peace and joy. Fear is an infection, planted and exacerbated by the lies the Enemy tells about God.

So, God has to reveal Himself to me as a God of awesome love, not a God of awesome power.

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)

The Spirit of God is truth and love.

God accomplishes His objectives while remaining true to His character of truth and love. He cannot otherwise act!

Now that I have seen the truth about my life–about how I am desperately loved by a supernatural Creator who died to save me, how my parents did the very best job they could given the tools and upbringing they had, how I had so much potential to not only sow happiness and peace, but to reap it as well, for myself and my family and friends and enemies–and now that I have seen the truth about God, I have glimpsed the larger picture of my reality–past, present, and future.

I have lived over five decades. Out of the 18,781 days I have been alive (at the time of writing), I have spent 6,260 of those sleeping. I have spent approximately 2,347 days eating. In my youth, I spent 985 days in school. In my adulthood, I have spent about 2,600 days working.

That leaves me with 6,589 days, or about 18 years.

If you could start right now and have 18 years to accomplish something, what would it be?

Amazing relationships with friends and family? Wonderful artistic creations that delight the world? A legacy of love that helped those living in misery? Building a titan of industry to bless all the people? Forming a character that is just like Jesus?

Knowledge Brings Life

Given the opportunity and the ability to remember my history, I would go back in time and restart my life.

I would not go all the way back, because there are two precious souls in my life that I would not live without. They are the target of my greatest devotion, second only to my heavenly Father.

I would go back to just after my second child was conceived. I want to re-live my life from that point, showering my wife and children and friends and family and enemies with this glorious love that now I perceive and receive from my heavenly Father.

There would be no divorce. There would be no Pharisee. There would be no desperation and exasperation. There would be no imperial law in the household. Instead of punishing, there would be loving discipline. Instead of grasping to maintain governing control by might, there would be loving demonstration of the laws of love and life.

Alas, that will not happen.

I was a broken man, living like an immature child. The seeds I have sown have reaped brokenness.

Why did God not reach out to me as I became an adult?

What a life it could have been!

And that is the life I mourn.

I ponder what could have been. I reflect on those defining moments, and how, if I was walking with God, they would have been for good and not for sorrow.

I cry out to God for forgiveness.

However, mourning is for a moment. Yes, the feeling is strong. I have wept at the thought of those lost years, the lost relationships, the damage I have caused to others. It seems like sorrow will last forever.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5 (NLT)

It is normal to mourn the loss of something precious, and our time and energy is precious. We have to resolve, today, right now and for forever, to expend that time and energy in ways that will benefit those around us.

This is a paradigm shift of worldviews. Most of this world lives according to the Enemy’s worldview: survival of the fittest and dog-eat-dog.

Gotta get mine!

Enjoy it while you can, because you can’t take it with you.

That worldview exists because of fear and selfishness, borne of the lies we are told about God.

Fear and selfishness is conquered, overcome, destroyed, by truth and love. Truth and love come from our Creator God, who gives us liberty to reason with Him and to choose life or death.

Let us choose life!

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