Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Regret and Redemption

We love redemption stories.  Some of the most popular movies are about heroes who have made mistakes, been down a dark path, but find their way back to be the hero.  One of my guilty pleasures is the show "True Hollywood Stories".  Without fail, at approximately the midpoint of the show, the narrators voice gets foreboding as he says, "but then it allllll fell apart......"  Then the rest of the show details their recovery from the fall from grace.

Why do these stories resonate with us? 

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God"

Within each of our experiences we have a consistent theme of mistakes and regrets.  And sometimes those regrets are debilitating.  Bridges have been burned, lives ruined, futures deterred.  Often the weight of the heartache of our past(and even present) creates an inability to even perceive a future that could be shaped by hope and joy.

There is a quiet desperation in all of us that weeps over that which we cannot fix.  Decisions that cannot be undecided.  Actions that cannot be changed.

How do we move forward?  How can the future be different from our past?

The other day I came across one of the most powerful quotes.  It was in the context of how faithful Christians should read the Old Testament.  It said that when we read/interact/try to understand the Old Testament we should do so with the Shadow of Christ cast over it.


Everything that we struggle understanding in the OT takes a new shape when we read it through the understanding of Christ moving within it towards the New Covenant.  Nothing that has happened makes sense and has hope and value if it is not moving us towards Christ.  And, if it is moving us towards Christ, even that which was difficult becomes a beautiful testimony of hope within hurt.

How can we move forward?  How can the future be different from our past?

Allowing the shadow of Christ to cover your past. 

In the story of the regrets that dominate our hearts we cannot hope to have hope without redemption.  Redemption does not make that which you have done, or that which was done to you, suddenly become "ok", or "right".  But it changes the results from destruction to construction. 

Joseph(from the hit musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat) is the picture of what this looks like.  His brothers have quite literally destroyed his life.  When, years later, he has the chance to confront them, he says, "What you have intended for evil, God intended for God to accomplish what he is now doing"   His brothers had done evil against him, but God never let Joesph's hope be defined by what happened to him, but what God was going to do through him and for him.

When we stand alone we cannot redefine our past.  There is only one who stands outside and inside of time who straddles the reality of our lives and shapes it according to His purposes.  What choice will we make?  To give Him control to redeem and heal what has happened?  Or, will we allow the infection of past pains rot us away from the inside?

Run.  Run to the one who will take your pain and give you promise.  Lay down your burdens and rest in the shadow of the Almighty and rest.

The hope of redemption is in forgiveness.  In Christ everything
 is forgiven, EVERYTHING is redeemable

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