I have a confession to make to all of you wonderful people who take the time to read this blog.
I’m afraid I’ve been incredibly selfish with this blog over the last year or two. Maybe I’ve been doing the best thing I know to do – trying to get to the bottom of what I’ve felt, done, and seen, doing so honestly, doing so with lots of questions, etc.
Almost every blog I’ve written since the winter of 2014 has been about me. About my pain, about my regrets, about my questions, my doubts, my discoveries, my realizations, etc.
And fair dues – I’m processing that, and that’s okay with me.
But today, God spoke just like the Father He really is – in thinking about this blog and what it’s all about, He posed a question:
You’re forgiven. Now what?
Back in the day, I was a preacher. One of the things I miss about being a preacher is exactly one of the things I needed to leave it for – when you’re a preacher, you ponder the truth for other people, not always for yourself. It’s a different perspective – an others-focused perspective, and something which is really uniquely rewarding. And the truth is always uniquely held by someone else for you than it is held by you for you.
you can know in your head that God loves you, but there’s no amount of Bible reading that can make up for someone giving you a hug in the wake of your biggest failure and them holding you saying, “God loves you. He’s proud of you.”
You can know in your head that you’re smart – but it’s something else when you use that intelligence to help someone and see the measurable effects of it.
And people have a way of being able to speak necessary truths when we need it the most – even if we don’t advertise that we need it. A compliment on how your hair looks when you had doubts walking out the door. A compliment on your work ethic when you worry you’ve been letting the team down. A compliment on your writing when you worried that your content had been lacking lately.
The truth is a powerful weapon – it’s even more powerful when someone else holds it for you. Solomon in the Proverbs says that death and life are in the power of the tongue – your words can make or break someone. Perhaps (hopefully) not ultimately – but your words have an effect.
The truth has an effect. Use it carefully.
All that is to say: when God asks, “you’re forgiven. Now what?” it’s a rhetorical question. It’s rhetorical, because He has an answer for you – He has an answer for me.
The answer is, quit making time for regrets. Quit lamenting your mistakes. It’s in the past – it’s over.
We do not exist for ourselves. Evolution says we do – in the sense that we self-preserve and self-promote – and physically, that’s true. But when we grasp the beauty of Jesus Christ, may our reality be in line with the reality that Paul lived – to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
And among the implications of that reality is this: we live to look after one another. We live to look not after our own interests, but also the interests of others. We live not to meet our own needs, but also to help meet the needs of others. We live not to just be encouraged, but to encourage. Not to just be preached to and edified, but to preach to others and to edify others. Not just to know the truth, but to make the truth known.
That’s the “now what.”