Thinking about our past failures a lot of times can cause us to hang our head in shame. It can cause us to cringe and maybe even hide if a certain topic is brought up. Paul had a lot to be ashamed about after becoming a follower of Christ. He persecuted Christians with confidence and a smile. He hunted them down and made sure of their torture or execution. If you read any of his letters he doesn’t hide those sins though. He is very open about his past sins and how vile he was, even calling himself chief among sinners. He took the chance to praise the Father for His mercy anytime he talked about his past. He didn’t let the shame bury him, instead he turned it into a message.
So if Paul can do that, can’t we? Instead of running from our past sins, we can own up to them and praise the Father for His mercy and grace. Of course, we can be discreet to protect others we may have sinned against, but we can boast on how merciful the Father was to us. Satan wants nothing more than for us to hide our sin and run from it. He wants to hold it over our heads and make us feel shameful. He knows the power in sins being brought to light and how it can help others.
Paul shared his mess to further God’s message.
Maybe that’s another reason Paul spoke of his past sins so freely. Maybe he knew there were others who had murdered and lived a life of wickedness. He may have been showing them that there was hope for them. If Paul, of all men, could be redeemed and forgiven, then couldn’t they? He was so confident of Jesus’ death on the cross and the blood that was shed. He knew he was a changed man because of mercy extended to him. So may be he wanted others to know that he was once where they found themselves.
Too often I think non-believers look at us and feel inferior. We share the good in our lives and we leave out the bad we have done. They feel as if they could never be who we are and they stay in bondage. Like I said, we can be discreet, but we don’t have to hide our past failures.
You never know when the Father will use your past to change someone’s present. Boast on the Father’s mercy and how He redeemed you from who you once were, giving hope to those around you.
Father, thank You for never giving up on us. You saw something good when we saw something worthless. You want to use our past to reach others. Help us to allow You to use our past for Your glory. We don’t have to hide in shame, though we aren’t proud of our past we can show others that there is hope. We don’t glory in our sin, but we glory in Your redemption and mercy. Help us to fight the feeling of guilt and worthlessness. You reached out to us so we could be a vessel of honor and a city on a hill. So do Your work in others through our failures and bring them to your redeeming love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
I Timothy 1:15-16