…by Kevin McHugh
Greg used a 1-10 scale to help us make an assessment as to how much the pain of our past affects our lives today with a 10 being someone in need of counseling “institutional”, and a 1 as being someone hardly affected at all or in denial – “delusional.” For me, I am not on either of these extremes but I freely admit I am impacted by my past on a fairly regular basis. I suppose if there was a bell shaped curve on that 1-10 scale, I would be somewhere in the center region.
The teaching this week was challenging to say the least. One of the points on the message outline says “Getting past your past is never detached from forgiveness.” And one of the verses used to back that up is from Mark 11 where Jesus said “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” That’s not easy, and I’m in the middle of the bell curve. What about the people who are closer to a 10?
On my card are 3 names; one dead, one living, and the other I have no idea. Two are family and one is not. I carry some baggage from all 3 to this day, but the reality is that it is my baggage now and I own it. That’s the point from this week’s teaching – we own it; not them. We are all different and have our own experiences, so maybe you are relating to my thoughts and maybe you are not, but this is how it is helpful for me to think about it – this baggage belongs to me. From one person on my card, the affect is on my self-confidence. From the other two there is guilt and a sense of responsibility for something that is not from me. These are the people God is telling me to forgive.
God has forgiven us for a multitude of sins and He does so willingly and without reservation. In turn He asks us to do likewise. The verses Greg asked us to read tell us about the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant – if you haven’t already, read about it in Matthew 18:21-35. It is some compelling teaching from Jesus Himself that is not particularly easy. Please join me as I try my best to live it out.