September 18, 2012
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One of my favorite movies is Soul Food. One of the great scenes in that movie is when Bird comes home with two friends in the middle of the day and hears noises in the house. She discovers that it is coming from the bathroom and goes and kicks the door open, only to discover her husband, Lem, standing there in nothing but a towel.
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A fight ensues and Lem ends up telling her that he lost his job because he lied on his application about having a criminal record. He went on to say that he had been on six interviews and no one would hire him because of his record.
He had served his time and learned his lesson. He is trying to make his way back into mainstream society. He is married to a good woman and has gotten his life together, but because of a past mistake he is living in a present predicament. His past has authority over his present.
While that is a scene from a movie, it is a scene from everyday reality for many people. If you have a record, no matter how hard you have tried to turn your life around, your past will have more say so than your present about your future. If you file for bankruptcy, no matter how well you have done to get back on your feet, it takes seven years to clean it off your record.
Not only does it happen in the system of the world, but it happens in the system of the church. We in the church have this pension and proclivity to gravitate towards holding each other down by constantly speaking about someone's past and the things that they used to do. We treat people as if their worth is only as good as their record. I am glad that God does not operate like the system or like so many people do.
The Bible declares He throws our sins into the "sea of forgetfulness." In that sense, if God has forgiven and reconciled my mistakes through the blood of Jesus, then to continue to give them power is to make the resurrection of Christ of no effect. He did not die just to get you and me to heaven. God is not that lonely. Jesus died that we might live for Him on the way to Him. That means that my past is just that...my past.
God does not see us by our past. God sees us through the lens of His power, which always gives me promise and potential no matter what my past may be. That means, beloved, that your past nor your current can be an indication of your future potential. Here is some good advice regarding your past: LEAVE IT WHERE YOU LEFT IT. Don't ever forget that your potential speaks to you about your future in spite of your yesterdays.
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Nuggets by Day and Gems by Night: Thoughts and Insights from the Mind of Bishop Rudolph McKissick is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and BlackCBC.com and wherever fine books are sold.
Publisher: St. Paul Press