Sin.

A past.

Everyone owns both. Combined, they can be quite unattractive. My sins plus my past? Definitely ugly. Certain periods of my life intertwine with blemishes I can’t scrub off. They feel dirty. Repulsive. Shameful.

Can you relate?

Whether I color my past transgressions white, gray, black or some palette of all three, a sin is a sin is a sin. God doesn’t differentiate between my white and my black. He doesn’t measure the gray and deem me good or bad. Acceptable or unacceptable. Fit or unfit.

“We have all fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV).

Some of my bad choices I’d rather not relive. Rather not reflect upon. Rather not revisit. I’d rather bury them in a hole under twelve feet of dirt, six feet of cement, and a semi.

But that’s not always my choice.

What if one day, tomorrow or many tomorrows down the road, a few of those mistakes come rapping on my door and no longer afford me the choice to stuff them down in denial? Do I pay for them over and over? Do I live in bondage to my past? Should I punish myself forever? Forever can be a really long time.

Sins burden. They’re heavy. They’re draining. They pilfer joy and generate fear.

Maybe we all have at least one or two skeletons we’d like to keep locked in the cellar. Things that bring us shame, humiliation, or terror if another person were to discover just what kind of life we’ve led. Maybe we’ve worked hard to keep them buried under that dirt and cement.

Fear and oppression are harsh places to live. They color your heart, your world, your perspective. Sin separates you from God.

Is there alternative to the shame sin drops at our doorstep? To standing across the chasm from the One who loves you most?

Absolutely.

I don’t have to live in slavery to my former choices. To my past. No matter what I’ve done. Are there consequences for my actions? Yes. Will I have to live with those? Maybe. But not in fear and not in bondage. What is brought into the light can no longer hold darkness.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

Yes. God offers me freedom. Like an over exuberant chargecard rampage, when the debt comes due, He writes the check. He even covers the interest.

His blood covers everything. Everything.

The white lies. The muddy fabrications. The unpure choices. The murderous thoughts. The cruel words. All of it. Gone. And I’m left with a choice to seek forgiveness complete with a clean, white slate.

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25).

And if God doesn’t remember my sins, why should I? What an amazing gift. One I don’t want to blow.

What this gift offers me isn’t free reign to sin some more and come back begging an apology each time. What have I learned then? Nothing of value. What this gift does offer is a way to be different. To move into God’s light and make better choices so I can leave my past in the past, where it belongs.

Will I still continue to make mistakes? Of course. But I won’t live in bondage to those mistakes. I will do my best to forge ahead and, “…sin no more…” (John 8:11 KJV) knowing He will help me walk the path He’s designed. Resting in the knowledge that when I veer, His arms are always open.