This post originally appeared on Gregg Potts’ blog on Oct. 16, 2018.
Recently I was talking with a person and the individual began telling me of the past indiscretions of a certain individual. I listened and I admit, it bothered me to hear some of these things. Hearing these things kind of changed my opinion of an individual… briefly…
But then, the Lord reminded me, I had made mistakes in the past. Everyone of us have done things that we would do differently if given the opportunity. The key is to learn from our mistakes and move on.
In I Timothy 1, the apostle Paul talks about his past. He says, “… even I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor…” Paul listed three things about his past that were wrong. He was a “blasphemer”… a “persecutor” …and a “violent aggressor.” Paul is honest about his mistakes. He doesn’t try to cover them up or make them sound better. He admits them, which is what we have to do: Be honest about our mistakes and confess our sins.
But then Paul says, “And yet…” He’s just listed some terrible things in his past. He’s not proud of them, yet, they are there. He can’t deny them. So, God can’t use Paul, right? Paul has messed up too bad. Nope. God can use Paul, which is why Paul says, “And yet… I was shown mercy…”
In spite of Paul’s past, he was shown mercy. He was shown mercy because had acted ignorantly. And then Paul says “…and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant…”
Just as God showed Paul mercy, He will show mercy to us. It doesn’t matter what is in your past; it’s past, and it’s done. God’s mercy is enough to overcome a troubled past.
Whatever is in your past, that’s exactly where it is and where it needs to stay. It’s over. God’s grace is enough to overcome a troubled past.
You have a past of alcohol abuse? God’s grace is greater.
You have a past of drug abuse? God’s grace is greater.
You have a past of financial mistakes? God’s grace is greater.
The list could go on and on.
Just as God showed mercy to Paul, He shows mercy to us.