I was talking recently with a friend who described her life, through tears, with these words – ‘everything is broken’. She’s having an especially hard time at the moment, but she’s not alone. For most of us, there are at least parts of our lives we’d like to undo, or erase completely. So what do we do with our mistakes?
I’m not talking here about little blips. Forgetting an anniversary – or Valentine’s Day. (Glen, I’m giving you a heads up here – four days to go. Best book that flight to Paris right now, while there’s still time..)
Sorry – where was I? Ah yes. Mistakes. Stuff we’ve done that won’t go away. The big ‘uns. Attending the funeral of the friend you never made it round to see. Dropping out of school early – or racking up a student debt you’ll never pay off. Broken friendships. Relationships that have turned ugly. A liver destroyed by alcoholism. The detritus of a life lived for number one. Five years of marriage sacrificed on the altar of anorexia.
So what stops you from beating yourself up or channelling those regrets into an over-medicated copy of real life – whether with drugs, food, sex or even television?
Is it possible to find, not only hope for the future, but peace in the present and grace for the past?
In many ways we can’t reverse the past. We live each day with the consequences of our decisions, good and bad. ‘Back to the Future’ is a fun film, but that’s it – isn’t it?
Maybe not. In Christ is possible to know forgiveness, no matter what we’ve done. He went to the Cross to cover every sin. Not just the minor ones. It doesn’t take the blood of God’s son unless there are some really really bad things we’ve all done. Like turning our backs on Him. So next time you’re feeling unable to lift your head off the pillow, let alone enter God’s presence – remember, in Jesus, you’re already there. You’re loved, cleansed, accepted, forgiven. And those years are not wasted. We have a Lord who promises to ‘redeem the years the locust has eaten…(that) you will eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise. the name of the Lord your God, who has dwelt wondrously with you’. Yes, everything might be broken. But our God binds up the broken-hearted. He brings life from death, a garden from a desert, a light where there was only darkness.