I’m often asked the question “How do you go about redeeming your past?”, especially when your past is so messed up. It’s a great question. And in my next two blog posts, I’d like to try to answer that question for you.
First off, it’s important to answer the “why bother” question. After all, rewriting the story of your broken past is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s hard work and can leave you with a constant reminder of your painful past. That’s why I think a lot of people take the opposite tack, laboring instead to forget the past, trying to make it a distant memory. As one living out a redemptive story myself, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that idea has crossed my mind on more than one occasion.
But several weeks ago my friend Jeff Henderson, Campus Pastor for Gwinnett Church (part of North Point Ministries), tackled that question head on. And in my opinion, he was 100% spot on in answering the “why” question.
I’ve known Jeff for over a decade now, and he’s one of the best communicators out there. So when he contacted me a few weeks before to ask for my permission to use my story as an illustration in his upcoming message about redeeming your past, I was flattered to say the least. But I was also intrigued and anxious to see just how he planned on presenting this topic, especially from a biblical perspective. After all, this question really stands at the center of our faith for all Christians. To me, the question of redemption speaks to the heart of Jesus’ proclamation when He said “It’s for freedom that I came to set you free.”
At its essence, redemption means freedom. It implies repentance, a change of course, a second chance, a new beginning. Fortunately, I’ve been able to experience all of those things, but only by the grace of God and as a direct result of my personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That truth took hold for me while I was in the early years of my recovery from sex addiction.
In those early years, I was a member of North Point Community Church who was getting fed a regular dose of highly relevant explanations and applications of biblical truth. That’s where I learned that the entirely of the bible is really a series of redemption stories, and that our God is a God of redemption, restoration and reconciliation. In fact, scripture even refers to Christ’s followers as ministers of reconciliation. That, in and of itself, implies that we’re a people who have been restored, reconciled, and therefore redeemed.
So what about you? Where are you in your own personal redemption story? Whether you’re just starting out wrestling with acknowledging your past, or you’ve dealt with it, are getting help, and are looking for ways to allow God to leverage your past for His glory and to help others, this message is for you.
Follow this link to watch a video of Jeff on the North Point Ministries website as he shares his message “The Mess Under the Carpet”, Part 1 in a new series “My Bad Church Experience.” And thanks again, Jeff, for the shout out to me and BraveHearts (it comes about 37-38 minutes into the video). I couldn’t have said it any better.