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Ashamed of Your Past? Jesus Doesn’t Care About Your Past!

Ashamed of Your Past? Jesus Doesn’t Care About Your Past!

Before, I felt intimidated and unqualified to be around Christians. I had this notion that they live holy and pure lives because they knew the Bible, memorised verses, were devout and conservative. I was terrified to befriend them because of how imperfect I would appear. I also didn’t want them to risk being entangled to sin because of me.

If I were to describe it, I was a (kind of) lost and lukewarm believer. Lukewarm is probably an overstatement but I went to church and believed in Jesus. Of course at that time I thought it was enough to just believe in Him. I didn’t know what it means to be truly connected with Him. I was lost because (see how many you can relate to) I sought for love in all the wrong places. I found pleasure in the wrong things such as drinking, gossiping, judging people and seeking revenge. I’ve been in relationships that were unhealthy (crazy ex girlfriend – that’s me!) and meaningless. I remember being so filled with anger and bitterness.

Do you think you could like the person I was? Like everyone, I was imperfect. Unlikeable and unlovable even. To some, we may have equally troubled pasts. To others, my past may seem unproblematic or too innocent compared to yours. Maybe you had an even tougher or darker past. So let’s look at Saul’s (Paul the Apostle) story in Acts 8: 1–3 and Acts 9: 1–31 as an extreme example.

Acts 8: 1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.

Acts 9: 1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Saul was a murderer! He threatened and approved execution of Christians. That’s as bad as it could get. And if it were up to us, we’d want him stoned as well. We want to see him punished. But nopes…

Acts 9: 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

Acts 9: 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 

After Saul was baptised (Acts 9: 19–31) he started proclaiming Jesus in synagogues. This surprised people at that time because a wicked man was proclaiming Jesus. Like what you’re probably thinking right now, I would be skeptical too. People at that time were. How can an anti-Christian suddenly become an actual Christian? In Acts 13: 9 it mentions that Saul (also called Paul) was filled with the Holy Spirit. This shows that there was real transformation as well as God’s grace in action.

Now how can we relate to this? We are all sinners—and we know that death is the wages of sin. Yet God offers us a gift of eternal life for free (Romans 6:23). He is not oblivious of what we have done in our past but He is offering us redemption. We are being offered forgiveness and freedom through Jesus so that we can be reconnected with God. Through Jesus we will no longer be incarcerated from God’s Kingdom.

Jesus died for our sins. This should be enough reason to follow Him.

So where do we start? John 3: 3–5 gives us some guidance.

John 3: 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 

Based on the verses above, there are three things that we must do:

  1. Be born again by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
  2. Be baptized in water.
  3. Be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Now it’s not just all ceremonial. We don’t redeem our past by performing rituals and good deeds. No amount of good works is ever enough to make up for what we have done. Nothing that we do or say will ever make us worthy.

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

What He wants is our heart. He wants us to put our faith in Him and seek His will in our lives. As a result, our good deeds will follow.

Proverbs 23: 26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.

It’s not an overnight process. It’s a life-long process! I myself am still far from perfect. Many new Christians easily falter because they expect a full transformation right away. It is a daily commitment and at times a spiritual battle we ought to fight. We refuse to simply claim that we are imperfect and resist change. Each day we make a decision to do what God wants us to do according to the Bible over our old sinful ways and habits. It doesn’t mean we’ll never do anything wrong at all. But we can stop identifying ourselves with our former sinful ways.

I’d like to share some new habits I’ve formed ever since I accepted Jesus, which are:

  • Seeking and meeting God by reading the Bible on a regular basis
  • Talking to God more often through prayer
  • Praying and asking for forgiveness right away whenever I find myself sinning
  • Asking the Holy Spirit to help me control myself from sinning
  • Listening to the conviction instilled in me
  • Remembering His blessings and give praise and thanks
  • Listening to worship songs
  • Reading and watching more Christian-related material or content
  • Being mindful of what comes out of my mouth
  • Choosing to extend grace even when it is hard (It is not easy! Not at all! Not one bit!)
  • Bless His name day in, day out

2 Corinthians 5:17 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Therefore do not be ashamed to come to Christ in faith because He has been waiting for you to draw close to Him. He has seen you cry in the past. He wants to see you rejoicing today, tomorrow and beyond.

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