I must ask: Do you have a story? I know you do, but, does your story have you? Now, hold on, I’m just going to be philosophical for a little bit to prove a point. For many, the gatekeeper of their life is past guilt. Surprised?
We all have done something, said something, gone somewhere or been involved somehow in something else which we wish we could change? Whether we can or not we feel guilt and want to make it right.
On the other side of the same coin is the summary of something from someone which brought us harm or pain. What about that?
Sometimes but not always you can change things, make amends and get back on track, sometimes you can’t because of the finality of it all. It’s the hard losses I want to home in on. How do we handle those things we can’t fix or reconcile? Would it surprise you to know men and women for millennials have been trying to figure it out — and couldn’t.
But God, figured it out for all of us. He could see we were powerless in the shadow of our past.
Our stories had not only controlled us, but, we kept creating new stories of harm for one another as well.
Hopeless, you say? Earlier attempts for reconciling us from our stories required the sacrifice of animals, birds and farm produce. This could to mitigate the story somewhat — cover it over — so to speak. All that time past and hope was on the way.
God had a plan. HIS plan was to redeem us from our identification with our behavior — our past, and at the same time restore our identity with Him.
The earlier sacrifices could cover the effects of the behavior, but could not redeem us from identity with it. The way He chose was ingenious! The Apostle Paul summarizes: In one man (Adam) all men were condemned to the identity of their behavior. So, also through one man (Jesus) all were made free by His sacrifice for our behavior.
The cost? His death. God had to be the sacrifice himself. There’s more too. We will see how this works in full pretty soon.
Let me offer a view through a slightly different lens. Let’s assume we know we are created by God and made in His image. Question: Is that which is created connected to the creator? I think so, what do you think?
If we are created by God He has some ownership in us — we carry His identity. He made us like Him. Jesus refers to Him as our Father. Paul tells us that through the sacrifice of Christ we are redeemed and restored by becoming New Creatures, creatures who are forgiven for our behavior because our identity in God has been restored.
Next Question: Is your story forgiven — can you let it go?
What a question! How can I let it go? It’s too big. You see what I did just can’t ever be undone. It can never be forgiven because my child is dead. Some might say I helped in his/her demise. Others might say: This same God who forgives was nowhere to be found when I tried everything, and he/she still died in the abortion. How can that be forgiven?
Let’s recap. Jesus’ sacrifice was for everyone. It was for all behavior. Everyone’s story was reconciled in Him. The way He did it was to forgive k-zillions of stories all at once in His sacrifice. I know it’s hard to believe but He did.
You’re a father without a child in your presence to father. Lost fatherhood is so hard. It is so large a loss that it is hard to fathom. Let’s fast backward. It’s the guilt, isn’t it? The loss was so large it had to be someone’s fault — maybe yours. You can feel guilt for yourself, but, not for someone else. To balance you may feel guilty for you but blame them. This dilemma or maybe this trilemma must be solved to move on, but how?
God again comes to the rescue of our redemption by asking us to be “Living Sacrifices.” Confused yet? I would be. What does that mean to be a living sacrifice, isn’t a sacrifice supposed to be dead? Yes, sacrifices are dead, but in this case the dead part is the past, specifically everyone’s past story — their past behavior.
As a living sacrifice the past can be moved from our place of thinking like the old nature (now dead) to a new place of mind. Our thinking can be transformed by renewing our mind. This is possible because our stories died with Christ; our stories were buried with Him; forgiven by Him; and we were resurrected as New Beings with Him. Our lives are now hidden in Him.
Now, let’s look at the “there’s more too” part of God’s ingenious plan. God is triune. Father, whom Jesus spoke of as our “Heavenly Father;” Jesus, at once the “Word of God” and the “Only begotten Son of God;” and the Comforter (Holy Spirit) of whom Jesus spoke as well.
He said: If I leave you I will send a comforter. We know he left, and we know through faith that when we learn and accept the truth of his sacrifice and forgiveness of our stories we then partner with the Holy Spirit. That is why we can be referred to as New Creatures.
Our lives are not only hidden him but now helped and comforted by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is so smart and wonderful that He offers to transform us by the renewal of our mind. Our thinking (default thinking) before we were blessed to know of the redemption of Christ still holds the story.
God wants to change the story in our mind so that we can be free from the way it tries to keep us in guilt and estranged from others in the story.
God has rescued us in the dilemma: Our story has been forgiven and we are reconciled to Him.
The Trilemma: How to be free from the story and our identity to its default history with others. With the tool of renewing our minds through our lives as living sacrifices, each circumstance becomes a laboratory for opportunity. God has judged Jesus as our sacrifice and forgiven our story — our behavior.
As New Creatures, helped by Holy Spirit, the process of transforming and conforming us into the Image of Christ occurs simultaneously with the renewal of our minds.
With this all things become new, the old is passed away and continues to be passing away. God is making all the old things which held you hostage to the identity of your story new. Through the lens of forgiveness for your behavior and the new power to forgive others just as you are forgiven the journey for freedom from the old identity begins.
So, what is the end game? Each of us has been given permission to grieve the loss of our children by abortion. Each of us has been given the path to healing through the doorway of forgiveness and reconciliation. Each of can measure his own faith and live real time in the renewal of our minds. With the story totally behind us, we move on in renewed capacity and Heavenly power to be blessed in our journey.
At M.A.N. many of the members have prepared helping guides for you to work through the loss of your child or children. You can not only become whole and blessed yourself, you can get excited about helping others just like you do the same thing.
Don’t worry, you will not run out of opportunities, there are about fifty million other guys just like you who are stuck (or so they think) in and with their story.