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Reconciling the Past Doesn't Mean Carrying Guilt Imposed on You by the Painfully Pious.

It's taken me a long time to get back to posting on here. I had hoped it would be more regular. That's down to me. The consistency in walking with God and is discipling myself to do a thing for Him, is a struggle. Satan loves to keep us spinning plates. My bad.

A few months ago, I bumped into a man from Kells, while walking around Holywood. I hadn't seen him in probably 25yrs and I quickly noted that he had always been a kind and completely scatter-brained fella that I had worked with while doing some children's ministry. I'd always liked him.

The thing is... 2 minutes into the conversation, (despite me telling him that after 20 years of life without God, my relationship with God was restored, and that I was infact doing better spiritually than I probably had in 35 years) he decided to remind me just how I had let down my family and friends.... folks at church etc.

I have to be honest, I was so taken aback by this, I just exited stage left, as soon as the opportunity presented itself. This was not the kind of person I wanted to spend time with.

The thing is... I don't know if its a human trait or just a Northern Irish one, but a good dose of shame and loathing does make us cower away and feel grateful that such an episode is over. Jesus did say that it IS possible to be angered by something and yet, not to sin. So yes, in retrospect, I can admit I was angry about that.

Sadly, incidents like this are not isolated. I heard it said once that the Christian army was the only army that shot its wounded. We all know of people who despite the fact that God has forgiven them, continue to live under the disapproval of former friends or family who just cannot accept that's God's grace was intended to forgive those who were unworthy of it, and act more like the brother of the Prodigal Son, than the Father.

It is especially sad when it comes from people that you had once respected for their zeal for God. In my case, I have to admit that incident made me pause and wonder if that persons zeal for God was genuine, or if it might just have been a very long case of evangelical heartburn. He had taken so little time to digest what I was actually saying, and was almost certainly acting on the words of the Apostle Paul when he instructed Timothy in 2 Tim 4 to "...Be ready, in season or out of season..." because one deep breath and away he went! I assume that this person had been holding all this in his heart for 20+ years and he felt duty bound get it off his chest.

What we need to be reminded of is the truth. And that truth is that despite how badly you have gotten it wrong... despite how big a mess you have made of your life... God in His infinite love and kindness, still wants nothing more than to restore you and to have a living vibrant relationship with you....

If you ask me what the Gospel is, I would tell you that first and foremost, it is that Jesus came to restore the way back into relationship with God. A way for you and me to daily, and yes, TODAY, enter into the Kingdom of God. It blows my mind to realise that everything Jesus accomplished on the cross was done, not just so I can go to heaven when I die, but just as importantly so that I can enter into that eternal quality of Life that God Himself possesses... and that you and I can do it today.


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