I'm sending you a response I made this past New Year's Eve to a dear woman who has been haunted by the old voices of condemnation. They are, as she called them, "the same voices of reproach and blame" from her past. Those voices have been telling her that she has to "get in touch with all those people from my past, with these people I have sinned, and in my past I called them friends ... should I burn the bridges or try to settle up all the problems from the past?"
Well, I can tell you that my heart was stirred by what she wrote. I can also tell you that even though I don't have the inside scoop on specific decisions people might need to make, but I can tell you that I know God's will ... for it is Christ in you, the hope of glory. And that can have everything to do with our decisions. Here's my response, and I hope it encourages your heart and mind as it did hers.
Those voices of blame and reproach will come at you from every side. The mind of bondage can't tolerate anyone truly living in freedom. I know there are Christian teachers who will tell you that you must contact everyone you have offended in the past, but that is a set up for a lot of bondage and guilt. It's also very relative. I mean, how far back and how deep would you have to go to figure all that out? And then, what mind is telling you to dig it all up? Just ask yourself: how long did it take Jesus to deal with all our sin? He didn't have to go into detail with anything, for he took care of it all simply by putting it to death in his own body! It was a once for all offering for sin. It wasn't dragged on and on. It is not required of you to revisit all or any of your past offenses.
Now, I won't tell you to ignore every memory that comes your way, for maybe there is someone from your past who could really stand to hear your voice of freedom. That's right, your voice of freedom ... not condemnation. If you decide to visit any of your past friends, don't go to them as a reformed sinner, but as a newly created person in Christ, one who can profess the profound freedom of having the weight of past offenses taken away. It is the legal mind that would have you dredge up all the sinful details of that which has been left behind. You see, we can apologize for having caused pain toward another without having to revisit the gory details. We can also ask forgiveness from the other, without having to hang onto that old guilt until released by that person. For only God is the one who has truly forgiven us. For those who are in the flesh will never really be satisfied.
You are free! Live as one who is free.
Adam and I have started on another short series entitled Men of Grace or Men of Law? If you've ever had difficulty understanding why the words of Jesus, Peter, or James seem to express anything but grace and freedom, we invite you to join us as we dig into this subject. Don't miss this series! :)