“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves — regret for the past and fear of the future.”
If this quote is true, and we suspect it is, there are two great temptations, or habits, that we’ll find ourselves sown into.
To these we have grace — the “saviour” between the two criminals robbing us of peace. This is about bringing to bear the teaching of Jesus:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
~John 10:10 (NRSV).
The “saviour,” hence, is not simply grace, but Jesus — in whom there is life, to deal with regret via forgiveness and to deal with fear via courage.
Whatever we lack, we know we can have... freely.
Venturing to Forgiveness
When we consider that we’re already forgiven, we can know that forgiveness is only ever a matter of asking for it. In other words, it’s simply about repentance — a turning back to God to admit our error, be honest with ourselves, and move on in Divine grace.
We can do this thing simply.
Though, perhaps we fear that the regrets will recur. They’re sure to do so if the issue’s important. The idea, then, is training the mind to quickly resolve the instances of regret and redeem this forgiveness which is ever-present.
Let’s remember that there’s no condemnation in God for those earnestly seeking him (Romans 8:1). That is, regret at the level of spiritual barrier — though we can regret our actions of past — is not from God. Acceptance is a godly tool of maturity for dealing with the residual effects of regret; the outplaying in life of the places we find ourselves.
There is still a great deal of spiritual freedom available to us, no matter how sordid we feel our past is. Regret is never beyond God.
Venturing to Courage
Courage is easier than we imagine, for it’s a decision.
It’s the implementation of the will. We decide to go up against that fear — in spite of it — and God blesses us with the momentary courage to do what we feel we need to do. Then all is well.
The good thing is it only takes one action of courage to work and we’re convinced of its power.
When we falter, and occasionally we will, God’s Spirit is there to pick us up, dust us off, and ready us for the next courageous bout of fire-balling fear.
Let’s remember that, whilst fear has a role sometimes, it’s most often a thin and pesky veneer; something ‘dealt with’ in plain courage — a quality everyone’s capable of.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.