William Faulkner once famously noted, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”
I wonder if he ever spent time in my office.
People bring a lot of baggage from their past that ends up poisoning their present. Both things done to them and things they’ve done to themselves.
Sometimes I despair of helping people break free of the hold that the past has on them.
Which is why as both a pastor and a pilgrim, I’ve got to hold on to Paul’s testimony in I Timothy 1:13: “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.”
Think of all the words you could substitute for blasphemer, persecutor, violent man — drug addict, gang banger, adulterer, abuser, victim.
Those words matter much less than the ones that follow: shown mercy.
That’s what I need when I become mired in my past. Perhaps you do as well. Mercy that’s undeserved and unending.
So with that mercy as our fuel, perhaps we may be able to prove William Faulkner wrong after all.