It’s almost three in the afternoon, and I’ve got nothing to do except to rest on my favorite chair. Out of nowhere, I suddenly thought of scanning some pictures from college and high school. Although most of the pictures made me smile, but some of it made me ask myself, ‘What have I done with my life before? Was I a nice person before?’ Flashbacks rushed. It seems like my mind just made a slide show of who I was then. It hurts to know that who I was before is someone that I myself could not befriend.
I may have gained a lot of friends then who are true to me, but I’ve regretted how I wasted the times I had with them without even treasuring their loyalty. I might have professed myself a Christian since I was in high school, but to be honest, I still had a lot of things to change inside of me. I believe that sanctification is a process, but this process can sometimes become regressive instead of progressive if you continue to quench the Spirit’s work in your life.
I’m short-tempered before, and we all know that the rush of anger can always lead us to so much compromise. My pride will always be there to falsely convince me that I am right for bursting out my emotions, but on a biblical perspective, it’s a sin. God’s Spirit makes us gentle and self-controlled (Gal. 5:23), and those characters clearly contradicts uncontrolled anger. I encountered a guy before who said it’s not a sin to be angry because God Himself gets angry. I believed that so much before, but now that I see the greater picture, I realized what he said was not true.
Yes, God gets angry. It’s one of His attributes, but comparing God’s wrath to our wrath is something that we should really think deeper. God has all the rights to be angry because mankind has stolen every chance to glorify His name. Since Adam and Eve sinned in Eden, the hearts of man become rebellious against God. He has all the rights to be angry and judge us for what we’ve done, but let’s not make this an excuse for us to practice the outburst of anger in our lives.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh (Luke 6:45), and this clearly points us that if sin still reigns in your life, the greater are your chances to still speak harshly towards others. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul (Proverbs 22:24-25). I have no way out of these biblical evidences. I might have the capacity to twist the stories and make myself look like I have the right to be angry, but let’s not forget that no one is good. Only our God is good. Self-righteousness is nothing but a false hope that makes us believe we can save ourselves without God’s help. It’s a lie because looking back from our roots, we are all helpless without Him.
I’m not just a short-tempered human being then, but also a nagger. I talked harsh words a lot. There was even a time that I was so proud I’m frank, but now that I’ve seen the light, I’m ashamed how I bragged about it before. The words of the tongue can do two things; it can build up someone or ruin him. Watching what you say can save you from lots of trouble (Prov 21:23). But before, I never think twice before I speak. I never thought before that maybe my words could already hurt my friends. My intentions were all selfish. I just wanted to feel good of letting that feeling inside of me go without even thinking if my approach could have hurt people.
I can’t turn back the time. I may sometimes cry it out to God how much I regret doing those things, but the memories they had about me can be something that will never change. I wasted those times. I could have talked more about God rather than always talk about how angry I was.
I’ve been the highlight of many open forums with my friends before because of my attitude. Although God knows my apologies were sincere, but I could feel that some of them were not satisfied about it because the next time I messed up, they have higher tendencies to recall everything that I have done before, and that’s the very thing that sometimes haunts me when I think about who I was then.
I have broken many friendships. I have lost the chance to treasure them. Although they might as well have mistakes of not letting go of those heartaches, but I’d rather focus on what I’ve contributed to make the situation worse. I hated myself then because I know I was helpless, but I seldom reach out to God for help.
And you know what made all these things worse? I was a professing Christian despite all those bad habits I had. I believe in God, and I flooded my mind of thoughts that I love Him, but looking back and knowing now what true love for God is, I know I never loved the Lord then because I hurt the people He loves and never longed for a changed life.
Sadly, I am not alone with these kind of situations. Many professing Christians today lack desire to truly change. Many of us forgot that our God is holy, and since He is holy, He cannot stand any forms of sin. Holiness is prerequisite to heaven. You cannot see God if you yourself is not holy. But how can this thing happen then? No man can do it alone. God has to intervene, and that’s why Jesus Christ is there. He is our confidence in the sight of God. Without Him, and the propitiation of sin that He did on the Cross, we will never be holy in the presence of God.
Although the wasted chance I had before still haunts me, but knowing that Jesus Christ saved me and changed me, I become hopeful. I may not encounter some of those people I hurt before again, but I always pray that somehow, someday they will be able to learn to forgive me.
I praise the name of the Lord for this changed life. Now, I rarely burst out in anger, and I already talk less for good. I know now how to think before saying something. Those things became possible because of God. He is the only One who could change our hearts. Just like the vision about the ‘valley of dry bones’ that God showed to Ezekiel, His work in changing our hearts is monergistic. It will all happen because He made a way for us to change.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” ~Ezekiel 36:26-27
You know how I ended that simple encounter with my past? I ended it with a prayer. Lift up your burdens to God! This world will always remind us who we were then, but God is always there to tell us we are already forgiven. Trust in God’s work in your life. Always pray that God will change you from glory to glory. No one can save us the way Jesus does, so hold on to Him all the days of your life.
God bless you, reader!