The past isn’t the past if it’s the present. Think about that for a moment. Why do we call it the past if we continue to let it invade our thoughts, dictate our feelings, and influence our decisions, our lives? Until we let the past live in the past we cannot live in the present.
I am not devoted to any particular religion or brand of church. I am a believer, and one could even say, a follower of Yeshua (Jesus). Yeshua was born a Jew, raised in the synagogue, taught there on occasion, but for the most part, His ‘church’ was everywhere, and anyone who wanted to listen was a member. I think Christendom missed the point on the subject of sin. If we are going to use the word sin, sin is anything that betrays the innate moral code, the God-breathed truth of Divine Love. Sin is anything that intentionally hurts ourselves or others. Sin can be words, deeds, even thoughts, thoughts meant to hold us hostage to the past or violate the moral code. Yeshua taught we are to confess our sins. Why? Because Yeshua knew thoughts, words, and deeds held close to the heart destroy us. Confession is good for the soul because once we acknowledge our thoughts, words, and deeds we can move past them, move forward, grow.
The church, as it evolved in the days following the crucifixion, intentionally, or perhaps erroneously, misinterpreted the need to confess one’s sins. We need to confess our sins because confession releases us from sin’s power over our lives. Sure, the church teaches that truth, but the church also teaches we won’t get to heaven without confessing our sins, we can’t be viewed as righteous in the eyes of God without confession. In reality, we can’t be viewed as righteous in the eyes of the church, more specifically, in the eyes of other fallible humans. And there it is! The reason I have difficulty with Christianity as a whole. When we confess our sins, the slate is wiped clean, and we are declared righteous, according to the Bible. But, somewhere on the Biblical path to righteousness, we cross the threshold of elitism, believing that we are now better than other humans, God sees us as righteous and therefore we are righteous, forgetting that the Bible also says no one is righteous, not even one. I was one of those people – the operative word – was.
The problem with being declared righteous is that maintaining righteousness is exhausting, especially when one is doing it under their own power. We can’t. Yeshua didn’t say we needed to be righteous. He said He did not come for the righteous, He came to call sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17) The righteous were a lost cause, they weren’t going to listen to Yeshua because they already believed they were better than everyone else. But the sinners, the ones who lived their lives trapped by the past, those who had done and said things that hurt others, those were the ones who drew Yeshua’s interest.
What about repentance?. It means to turn away from whatever things one did that hurt self or others and not do or say them again. Yeshua knew that wasn’t going to be a one and done event. It’s an ongoing process of honestly analyzing our thoughts, words, and deeds. Humans are messy, we rarely get it right the first, second, third, or more times down the same road. But, until we draw our last breath, we get another chance to get it right.
Yeshua’s message was a message of love in the face of our messiness. He encouraged others to follow the path of love versus the path of ritualism and religiosity. When we love ourselves and others, we will be open to forgiving ourselves and others, learning from our mistakes, and living in the present, leaving the past in the past…..