“You’re blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” (Matt 5:8, MSG)
How many among us live on regret and guilt? “If I had only known!”, “Why didn’t I act with more compassion?”, “Why did I ignore little Johnny…?” Many continue to live with these burdens day in and day out, never finding any relief.
Truly nothing can be done to change the past, but we certainly can do something to change our future and put to peace these guilt-filled memories from the past. On our own, there is no hope to do so. We need help from the expert Mediator, Jesus Himself. After all, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all-all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” (Heb 4:15-16, MSG)
Inviting this expert Mediator, Jesus Himself, will change our regrets of the past and open doors of opportunity to do something about our wrongs from long ago. Only through Him will we be able to forgive others as well as ourselves. “On the other hand, if we admit our sins-make a clean breast of them-he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.” (1John 1:9, MSG) This huge burdens that follow us wherever we go can be lifted. Through Jesus’ touch, they will evaporate into nothingness.
We have to be willing, however, to do something about these burdens and to: “Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight.” (Deut 6:18, NIV)
“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” (Matt 5:23-24, MSG)
Reconciliation and forgiveness is the way to set right our inside world. As long as our bitterness and unforgiveness reigns in our heart, we will never experience peace. We have set ourselves as prisoners of our own mind, where pain, anger and disappointment reigns.
Forgiveness is the only way to put our past behind us and tread towards a glorious future. Bitterness hinders us from seeing God fully. In such circumstances, our world around us will look more like a concentration camp.
Are we willing to put our past behind us and set things right? If we are, treasure this promise: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt 11:28-30, MSG)
Private James Scouller from Scotland found his end in the battle of Cambrai on November 20th, 1917. His price possession, which he carried with him at all times, was his pocket New Testament. A German soldier, Erich Altrogge, stumbled onto this mortally wounded soldier, remained with him, giving him as much comfort as he could while he was dying.
In 1939, he was able to locate the Scouller family through the Glasgow police. He wrote to them of their son’s last moments in a package containing their son’s pocket New Testament. An enemy had reached out to do what is good and right, reconciling himself with this enemy soldier. To Erich, Private James was no enemy. He was a man in need who desperately needed comfort.
Interestingly enough, this package reached the Scouller family days before Germany and Britain broke out in war again.
Believe me, forgiveness is the way to a glorious future. Why would anyone want to remain in their own made-up prison?
(To access the entire “Majestic Mountain View” devotional series, please click here.)