Faith To Deal With Our Past: Part 2 Towards Resolving Our Past
Our past experiences can broaden our views, open doors into vistas that others may not consider and generally offer the potential to be a better version of ourselves. On the other hand, our past can colour us in ways we don’t always appreciate. It can colour our perspectives, our responses, our preferences in a negative way.
Our past can colour us in ways we don’t always appreciate. It can colour our perspectives, our responses, our preferences in a negative way.
In this 2-part article entitled Faith To Deal With Our Past, we begin to examine some of the negative impacts that our past can have upon us. It can lead to repercussions upon our life and ministry. In this second part, we unpack some keys towards which we can resolve our past in order that we can move beyond it. That it no longer needs to hang around our necks like a dead weight. So that we can find a liberty God wants us to have.
A key part of that is the grace of God that we need to operate within our lives. And the faith to appropriate it. We continue expounding the passage from Exodus 4 where Moses was confronted by God for his past error. From the actions of Zipporah, Moses’ wife, we discover some key principles to deal with our past.
RECOGNITION OF SKELETONS FROM OUR PAST
Exodus 4:24-25 (NIV) 24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said.
The starting point to deal with our skeletons in our closet is identifying and recognizing it for what it is and its effects on our present.
Recognizing the true nature of our skeletons
Moses had neglected to circumcise one of his sons and Zipporah had to do it to save Moses' life. The exact reason for his neglect is not given and we can only speculate. Possibly, Moses had circumcised the first son and Zipporah had objected to him circumcising their second son. She might have seen it as unnecessary.
Remember that while Jethro his father-in-law worshipped God, he was not an Israelite. He was a Midianite and not subject to the rite of circumcision. Circumcision was a seal of the covenant between Jehovah God and the Israelites. Gen 17:11-14 (NIV) 11You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, … My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Possibly, Zipporah objected and Moses gave in to that demand when it came to his second son. Perhaps Moses even rationalised that he was an outcast from the Israelites anyway. Whatever the reason the outcome was Moses neglected to obey God's command. A very important command. That was the nature of his skeleton from the past. It wasn't until God visited Moses in judgment that Moses began to recognize the nature of his skeleton before God! Who would have thought that neglecting to circumcise a child would lead to God's wrath?
The starting point is always to recognize the true nature of our skeleton from the past. To recognize the root issue.
God was long-suffering with Moses' neglect but now God had to deal with it because Moses was to represent God and lead His people. To be spiritual leaders of high stature, we need to walk even more circumspectly, to a higher standard, before a holy God. In the same way, the starting point is always to recognize the true nature of our skeleton from the past. To recognize the root issue.
A girl I knew struggled with her sexuality and was a closet lesbian. When she became a Christian, it was still a struggle. One day God showed her that her parents had wanted a boy very badly. And they had considered aborting her when she was still in her mother's womb. This strong sense of rejection of her gender had occurred back that far and perhaps had continued to some extent in her early years. It was that sense of rejection that had affected her. Once this was revealed, she was able to understand why she struggled with the fact she was a girl and was able to overcome her confusion over her sexuality. That is why one key in discovering the root is to seek God for answers.
Recognizing the effect of our skeletons
What was the effect of Moses' neglecting to obey God? A death judgment. God probably struck him with an ailment that nearly took his life. He was too weak to even circumcise his son. Some of the repercussions of our past may be like an emotional death sentence or life imprisonment.
It is when we recognise the gravity of our sins, the ugly reality of our past mistakes, that it wakes us up to the fact we need to address it.
It is when we clearly recognize the effect that the past has on ourselves or our loved ones, that it will more urgently stir us to deal with it. It is when we recognise the gravity of our sins, the ugly reality of our past mistakes, that it wakes us up to the fact we need to address it. Usually, women sense this more quickly than men. Men tend to be more, "She'll be right mate!"
Mothers should watch over the affairs of her household, not just the logistic but the emotional and spiritual state. Prov 31:27(NIV) She watches over the affairs of her household… Mothers often can take a key role of praying and interceding for the family.
I met an elderly lady who prayed consistently for her family. Every day she would intercede. How blessed we are to have such mothers. I have read many times of authors who have dedicated books to their praying mothers! Because they realise the effect of their mother's faith upon their own lives.
RESOLVING OUR PAST
Exodus 4:25-26 (NIV) 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
Once Zipporah realised that God's judgment was upon Moses because of his neglect, she immediately took action to resolve the neglect. She circumcised her son as Moses was probably too ill to do anything at that point. She chose to overcome her own repulsion to the rite in order to save the life of her husband. This is reflected by her statement, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me" which carried a sense of her repulsion to the rite.
We can overcome the obstacles to dealing our past through faith in Christ who helps us be overcomers in Him.
We can overcome the obstacles to dealing our past through faith in Christ who helps us be overcomers in Him.
Facing our past
Whatever the mistakes or issues that occurred, we have to face up to it. Whether we made the mistake or others made it to us, we must have the courage to address it.
Whatever the mistakes or issues that occurred, we have to face up to it. Whether we made the mistake or others made it to us, we must have the courage to address it. Perhaps it requires forgiveness on our part, perhaps letting go of hurts and bitterness, perhaps owning up to our past and making restitution or facing its consequences.
Ps Terry Walker from "Tribe of Judah Motorcycle Ministries" used to be a violent criminal. Once he got saved, he turned himself into the police, he went to court, and confessed his crimes and was given a much lighter sentence, because even the judge could see the genuine conviction within Ps Terry of the seriousness of his repentance. Now Ps Terry ministers to other hardened "outlaws" and helps reconcile them to Jesus as well as reconcile them to their past,
Reconciling our past
Zipporah not only faced up to the issues of the past, but actually dealt with them. Something terribly missing from our justice system these days is the concept of “restitution”. God instituted a system of restitution so that sins can be forgiven by God and society can deal with the affects to sin. Ex 22:1 (NIV) "If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
Also, by reconciling our past, we are able to deal with the root causes of our sin. The Bible doesn’t just say to “stop stealing”, but teaches us to deal with the root reasons why a person steals. Eph 4:28 (NIV) He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
We learn that the root sins of a thief are laziness and selfishness. Too lazy to work for what the thief wants, and too selfish to care that what they steal belongs to somebody else. So in order to deal with our past stealing, we need to deal with both the laziness by “working with our own hands” and with the selfishness by “sharing with those in need”.
If I have borrowed your car and smashed it, I should pay to get it fixed. Otherwise, you won’t lend me your car again, but nobody else is likely to lend me their car, and you won’t likely lend your car to anybody again! But by paying for it I demonstrate that I am serious about wanting to make right what I have done. Even if I have to pay it off over time. The effects of this restitution are not only restored relationships, but restored trust and opportunities for others.
Often, reconciling our past will truly open the way ahead for our future.
Often, reconciling our past will truly open the way ahead for our future. Just like how Lance’s mother made him face the people he stole lollies from, and work for them until he had paid back what he had stolen from them. Lance worked so hard that he was able to eventually get a part-time job through it! They could see that he was serious about making restitution, and that he had learned to work hard. Later when Lance made enough money from his new job that he could buy more lollies than he could ever eat, and give them to his friends!
We must humbly go to God and repent of our past sins. Then do restitution if appropriate. Also to ask for God’s grace to lift the burden of guilt from our hearts.
REWARDS OF RESOLVING OUR PAST
Exodus 4:27-31 (NIV) 27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and also about all the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform. 29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
Once the past was resolved, Moses was able to proceed in his ministry unhindered. He was able to move forward without the past hanging around his neck. He was able to make the journey back to Egypt without fear. He was able to be reconciled and accepted by his own people and its elders. The favour of God was upon Him and the people believed his message from God.
When Ps David Yonggi Cho finally forgave the Japanese it opened the floodgates for him to plant churches there. Until today there are many thriving churches in Japan planted by Yoido Full Gospel Church.
The rewards of resolving our past are a lighter heart, peace within oneself and with others. And a greater freedom to grow as a person, in our life and ministry.
The rewards of resolving our past are a lighter heart, peace within oneself and with others. And a greater freedom to grow as a person, in our life and ministry. Also, the blessings of God will flow much more. It is like a pipe has been unblocked. Blessings will flow. What a joy it brings to many mothers when they see such blessings flow in their family! Zipporah must have been filled with joy to see Moses rise to his full potential!
We need faith to deal with our past. Faith that God can empower us to address it. It is when we address and resolve our past, we can move forward in a greater way!
Copyright©️2022 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.