Dear Salvation Army, I Wish I Had Known…

Regret. 
Contrition. 
Self-reproach.

Emotions that run deep beneath us.
Some propel us for the good.
Some dispel any and all forward progress we may have made.

news flash

You can’t live within your regrets.
You can’t burrow down beneath them and become spiritually disabled by them.
You can’t beat yourself up all of the time.

I believe that the Apostle Paul faced this type of self-reproach in his life too.
Having to say to yourself “I wish I had known”, might become a mantra of torture and pain.
Having to repeat these mistakes…let’s call them for what they might be – M-I-S-T-A-K-E-S
I’m not trying to get you off the hook here.
I’m not trying to justify our prior actions here.
But what I am saying is this:

Forgive

If you can’t learn to do this,
especially when we have received forgiveness
from God, then you will never be able to move forward
you will never be able to progress in this spiritual walk.
you will always be looking behind yourself
you will always be punishing yourself for
THOSE MISTAKES…

old lifePaul reminds us of this truth.
He reminds us (and perhaps himself)
He warns us of uttering that phrase about our forgiven
past that still screams at us and
tries to convince us that we don’t deserve God’s grace…
that same past that shouts at us and tells us that
we are beyond reach of mercy and that we totally deserve
punishment for these awful mistakes.

Paul says to these “I wish I had knowns
and he says to us:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
catch
Did you catch that?
Do you see the truth?
Can you understand that we’re all in the same boat here?
Our pasts and all of the mistakes we have made: 
-Can propel us forward.
-Can be used for our betterment
Can be Are  wiped clean.
-They don’t matter any more and they don’t live in our present.

Dear Soldier, 
stop fighting a war with shadows of your past! past
Stop waging a battle with ghosts that no longer exist.
Stop looking backward and the “I wish I had knowns”…they have been forgiven…you have been set free from them!

Don’t be defined by your past.
Don’t be defined by your mistakes.
Don’t give it a foothold in your present life…in your new life.

The father of lies would love for you to become crippled in your faith.
The great deceiver would try and convince you that you are of no worth and that your past is still very much present in your new life, and that little has changed.

I beg to differ.
Christ has set YOU FREE! free1
He didn’t do it partially.
He didn’t free you from the bondage of sin improperly.
He didn’t make a mistake with your free gift of Salvation.
You are free indeed!
You are a new creation.
You are forgiven.
You are save to save others through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit!
You are loved.
You are accepted though some will never accept you.
You are fit to be called a child of God!

So how about this, dear Soldier…

stop1
Stop the madness.
Stop the war inside your mind.
Stop hurting yourself spiritually.
Stop dwelling on the “I wish I had knowns
Stop looking back at your old life and living there through regret.
Stop lingering on the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s in life and move onto the promises of God here and now in the present.

Live as kingdom people now!
You are fit to serve!
You are fit to wear your uniform!
You are fit to be called sons and daughters of the Most High!

So a last bit of advice to you today:

get on itSomething more for our Army world to ponder today!
glory

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