Your past does not define you.
There are so many times when we look at others or ourselves, and all we see is the past, and usually not the positives.
Past relationships that have left wounds.
Past choices that have hurt others.
We look to the past, letting it define the present, and direct the future.
Whether it’s judging others for the things they have done, and letting that inform the way we talk about and treat those people, or shackling ourselves to our own pasts, destroying the freedom to move forward, we all do it. I don’t know where it comes from, whether it’s our own inherent sin and brokenness, the accusations and promptings of the adversary, or the pernicious voices of the world around us.
Hebrew narrative pays special attention to its characters and characterization, with first introductions being a significant piece of characterization. So, how is adult Moses first introduced to us?
One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. – Exodus 2:11-12
People say first impressions are important.
I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think murder makes for a stellar first impression.
And I think the part we don’t contemplate is this isn’t hero-of-the-faith Moses. This isn’t leader-of-Israel, talks-directly-to-God Moses. This incident comes before Moses becomes aware of his role to play, before God tells Moses he’s with him. This isn’t King David messing up in the middle of the game, Moses is falling down before the board is done being set up.
This is Moses’ past.
God still uses him.
God can still use us.
That’s the thing about Jesus: he isn’t looking for the perfect among us, he’s looking for the broken.
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. – Mark 2:17
We have this bad habit, which I fall prey to far too often, of thinking past sin and pain precludes us from things like happiness, relationships, fulfilling our calling, ministry, etc. But Jesus came to heal our brokenness and replace the darkness with light.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Christ has come to make you new.
Your past does not dictate your future.
But perhaps, God actually wants to use your past. I am a strong believer that God wants us to use the struggles and pains of our past to minister to others. There is always going to be somebody new experiencing the same struggles and pains that you have, so how much better equipped are you to minister to them, having experienced the same difficulties?
In the end, we cannot shackle ourselves to our pasts; Christ has brought us freedom from those chains.
My prayer is that you and I can live in that freedom from our pasts, moving unfettered into the future and God’s glorious purposes for our lives.