Do you ever feel haunted by your past sins and mistakes?
I can go months without thinking about my past and then I’ll see or hear something that will trigger memories of bad decisions made years ago.
The guilt and shame resurfaces and I feel paralyzed by it. I feel unworthy to call myself a Christian, even though I corrected my path, grew and learned from my sins, and received forgiveness and grace from My Father.
Paul knew this experience too. In 1 Timothy 1: 12-17 (NIV), He calls himself “the worst of sinners (vs. 16)” – “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man (vs. 13).”
But we know that Paul’s story didn’t end there. He went through radical transformation and God used him to preach the Good News across the world.
Paul writes in verses 15-16, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
The enemy reminds us of our failures to discourage us.
God has other plans. He wants to take your unique story, with all the bumps, bruises, and scars, and use it to proclaim the incredible grace He offers, to anyone who wants it.
It might not be in a grand way, such as preaching to large crowds of people all over the globe. You might just be what one hurting friend needs in your own community.
Don’t be discouraged when you are reminded of your past mistakes. Read the reassuring words of the “worst of sinners.”
If there’s hope for him, there’s hope for all of us.