I’m Ashamed of My Past
’Tis a sad thing that the past cannot be changed. Even the great St. Paul had some permanent and painful memories of violent and unbelieving things he had done as a young man. I certainly am ashamed of time and money wasted on stupid things in my own youth.
That’s why we so resonate with Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son: “The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living” (Luke 15:13). We know that feeling. Shame persists long after the deeds. Embarrassing memories of squandered resources contribute mightily to our feelings of self-hatred.
But ’tis a great thing that the past cannot be changed. Jesus’ triumphant death and resurrection cannot be changed. God’s not guilty verdict on us cannot be changed. And that means that the Father’s love for his sometimes lost and wayward children is always there for us. Wear his ring! Dine on his fatted calf!
The gospel tells us, with great tenderness and sincerity, that God is more interested in building our future than beating on us for our past. Your past failures and waste have already been freely forgiven. Hey—look through your windshield, not the rearview.