“Never be a prisoner of your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence.” ~ Anonymous
In my many years as a priest, I have come across a lot of people who, for one reason or another, are prisoners of their past. Because of things that they have said or done, they allowed themselves to be locked into a certain way of being. They cannot forgive themselves for their words or deeds and they think that there is nothing redeemable about them. They often fall into deep depression and can think that life is not really worth living.
As I feel sorry for them and try to find solutions to offer them, I realize how hard it is to attack that kind of position. Once taken, it becomes entrenched in our psyches. I know that to be the case for myself as well.
None of us are perfect. All of us mess up one time or another, one way or another. And there are times that we look at our pasts and think, “Geez, could I have been any dumber?!”
A certain amount of that is good. It helps us to check ourselves, to be prepared lest we make the same mistakes by saying or doing the same things. Too much of that, however, is exactly what the devil wants us to believe. He wants us to believe that past mistakes are so wretched that nothing can save us.
If we fall into that trap, we will find ourselves being pulled away from the One who can and does save us: Jesus. We are loved. We are forgiven. We are called to learn from our past so that our future decisions may be wiser.
We have been redeemed by Jesus Christ. Let not the sins of the past hold us down. Rather, let us live in the light of the Lord. Do not let the devil win today. Hold on to what Jesus has won for us.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who are trapped by their past decisions and work on forgiving yourself if you are one of those people.