Do you like to hold on to things of the past?
While some memories may be pleasant to recall, past hurts and sins can be painful. Dwelling on them can lead to anger, resentment and self-condemnation. Isaiah says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
God’s work did not end with his creation. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (John 5:17) God never stops creating. He is constantly doing new things. Through his Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, he loves, forgives, teaches, heals and guides. He also invites us to join with him in taking care of his creation. In all of this he is always looking forward, not backward.
Our sin interferes with God’s creation and work, but fortunately God provides a remedy through repentance and forgiveness. Once we acknowledge our sin and seek to change, God offers forgiveness. Sometimes even though we have repented of sin and received forgiveness, we have difficulty letting go of our sin. Since sin often has consequences, sometimes these consequences keep reminding us of our past sin.
While it is natural to regret our past sin and mistakes, once we acknowledge them and are forgiven, it is time for us to move on. That is what God does. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery that he did not condemn her and that she should go and sin no more. (John 8:11) While I still have regret for some of my past sins, I have moved on and seek to live the life that God is calling me to live today.
That life includes loving and caring for my wife of 52 years, supporting an adult child with special needs, and being available to love and encourage four other adult children who are raising families of their own. It includes being a good steward of the time, talents and resources God has made available to me to serve him in family, work and ministry.
In each of these areas, God is always seeking to do something new to further his kingdom on this earth. As spring approaches, we see God’s constant renewal in nature, with the budding of trees and the popping of daffodils out of the soil. So to with us, he is always seeking to do something new – providing new opportunities for us to love, forgive, teach, heal, guide – always looking forward, advancing his creation “on earth as it is in heaven.”
St. Paul says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17) May we embrace God’s desire to do a new thing in us each day.