Across the world, we recently celebrated the signing of the Armistice on 11/11 at the 11th hour, to mark the momentous day World War 1 ended. And November 2019 seems to be the month for remembrance for me in other ways. This year marks 30 years since graduating year 12. (It was called Matriculation then.) A couple of months ago, a small number of us from the Class of ’89 created a reunion committee to help plan events that would be memorable for our class mates as well as with staff and board members around in 1989. A tour of our school with an afternoon tea and a catch up with teachers, other staff and board that can attend followed by a student only dinner that evening is what has been organised. I am looking forward to it. That is, for the most part I am. When taking a walk down memory lane, you remember both the good and the bad of your past. You remember what kind of person you were. You remember how you were treated by others. You remember events that you weren’t happy you experienced. When taking a walk down memory lane, I’ve been reminded of a number of important lessons.
In reminiscing about my past, it has actually reminded me that I may need to forgive all over again. Forgive others AND forgive myself. Old wounds, now healed, can still ache at times. I’ve read that amputee victims can often feel the amputated limb long after it’s gone.This analogy is not dissimilar with ongoing forgiveness. I know I have forgiven those who have mistreated me. I know I am a better person today than I was back then. It is natural and it is okay to feel the hurt of times past. But it’s not okay to stay in that hurt. It breeds bitterness. It’s both immature and dangerous to be ruled by your feelings. Yet, to help combat this, I continue to realise my mind needs ongoing renewing. I need to fill my mind with what actually renews it. And that is His Word- the scriptures. I must commit His words to memory then ask the Holy Spirit to connect this head knowledge to my heart- my inner person-the part of me God is sanctifying daily until Jesus returns or until He takes me home. Such renewing is a daily and necessary part of the process of ongoing forgiveness.
When being reminded of the past, we can choose to remember all the Lord has done for us. We can look back and see where He has provided for us, protected us, sustained us and never left us. Such reminders of God’s goodness and grace- that we do not deserve, should build our faith in our faithful God. The One who is ‘the same yesterday,today and forever’ will continue to be there with us and is for us both now and into eternity.
Where would I be today if not for the Lord? I shudder to think of my life without God’s salvation, redemption, forgiveness and ongoing sanctification. A life without a personal relationship with my heavenly Father and Creator, my Savior Jesus, who is my best friend and the Holy Spirit as my Guide and Counsel? When looking back, I am SO grateful He was walking beside and before me. I see how He was using the good and bad parts (people and events) in my life to make me more like Him…and hopefully a better person now at 47 than at 17.
We all struggle with pride.Some believe it was pride that showed itself as the first sin back in the Garden of Eden. We can easily become proud of our achievements, proud of how well we got through horrendous times in our lives, proud of how far we’ve come in life. But pride pushes out God. It relegates Him to our accessory rather than our Lord.It negates the fact that every human is nothing without God. In a world that elevates self like never before and such idolatry of self is seen in countless Christians as well (and unfortunately in leaders and pastors too), this puts us in a perilous situation. We put ourselves ahead of God. It’s like people now see themselves as demi- gods and treat themselves as such.They forget all that God is and all that God has done.
After my pity party the other day, nursing my old wounds, I needed to repent and remember what the Bible says about my past and the absolute sovereignty of God. I needed to thank God for ALL of my past and for all He did in and through and for me at that time. I needed to again be reminded it’s actually not about me at all. I still worry too much about what others think of me. That has to stop. Instead, I should only be concerned about what the Lord says about me and whether or not HE is being seen through me.
So.. our 30 year reunion should be interesting. I hope it’s fun and worthwhile and not too awkward. But whatever happens, the planning and anticipation of the event has been good for me in ways that I hope will carry me to our 40 class reunion…