2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The above verse is my favorite verse in the bible simply because it reminds me of where I’ve come from, encourages me in the present and promises me a totally transformed future in Christ Jesus. It reminds me that I’m changed in Christ, while I’m not perfect because I am in Christ I can strive toward perfection by continuously applying his word to my life and using it as my guide.
Very recently I got an email from a friend relinquishing a friendship we had for almost 15 years. Unknowing to me I was continuously hurting her during those fifteen years and she’d reached a point where she felt that our friendship was to her detriment rather than her edification and so she called it quits. In that email, everything I had done and everything that was interpreted as me being unfair or unkind over the duration of our friendship was summarized and placed before me to examine.
I had every accusation against me summarized and outlined, every misconception detailed and my heart and ability to hear from God questioned. I read the email over and over feeling my heart shatter a bit more each time as I pondered on each line examining whether the person being addressed was the person I was today. I felt horrible. How could I have been so absent minded all this time, not realizing the damage I was doing? After 15 years the bad I’d done far outweighed the good in a friendship I held close to my heart and there was nothing I could do to mend it.
I was crushed! I immediately tried to find ways to apply all that I read to my life. I started believing that the person described in the email was who I am today. I started questioning myself and my ability to genuinely love and care for another person and I disqualified myself from being capable of reaching out to or encouraging anyone. I remember thinking I was the worst person in the world and that my heart must be the filthiest one God had to work with. For days I convicted myself. I was convinced that all the pain and hurt I felt at losing my friend was deserving punishment being handed down by God as a consequence of who I was and eventually I started a silent retreat from everyone and everything. I stopped speaking up at times when I should have, I refused to follow up with persons I knew were going through life’s battles and would have welcomed a word of encouragement and I even avoided praying about certain things because I felt that my voice was the last one God wanted to hear.
If this were a sermon right here is where I’d tell you to turn to your neighbor and tell them “BUT GOD” . Thankfully God stepped in and reminded me of 2 Corinthians 5:17 and gave me back my freedom. He reminded me that like everyone else I have a past. He showed me where I came from and reminded me of where I’m going in Him. An email that crushed my spirit and silenced my voice is now one that encourages me to keep seeking the things of God. It encourages me to continue striving to live a life holy and acceptable unto God because in Him there is growth and freedom. I think of the sentiments expressed and I smile because I can see how very far God has brought me from and how many things he’s freed me from. I have a hope and joy for my future because I know that God isn’t finished with me, He’s still pruning and shaping me into the woman I’m supposed to be in Him. I feel a new sense of freedom, I feel free to write, free to sing, free to speak, free to hug someone and encourage them and free to be me in God’s presence.
I’m not perfect and I’m no where close to it but I’ve come a long way from where I used to be and for that I am thankful. I am now and will forever be eternally grateful for this experience because it has taught me to appreciate where God has brought me from, Who I am and who I’m going to be in Christ.
Everyone of us has past experiences that we’re not happy about and sometimes the reminder of that past can influence the way we see ourselves in the present. Be encouraged, our past is where we were and it helps us appreciate where we currently are and gives us hope for the future. As we grow in Christ we should all become more aware of how we treat others and show greater regard to where they’ve come from. Let our words be graceful and in as much as you can show love. We won’t always get it right but as long as we’re close to Jesus and keep applying His word to our lives, we’ll get better.