This morning my mind started wandering back to high school and that version of myself. Immediately, the embarrassment, self-consciousness and fears all flooded back into my mind and heart. Am I the only one that has such a hard time letting go of a particular version of myself? I doubt it, but it sure feels like it sometimes. This morning I found that I was able to sort of take a step back and consider things on a deeper level. These days, when I think back to my high school self, the embarrassment I feel is more about the state of my heart and how easy it was to act like everything was fine. I realized that I had such a judgmental attitude. I was a painfully shy person in HS but looking back, I have come to a realization that my heart contained the sin of judging others and jumping to wrong conclusions from my vantage point on the outside of things.
One of the things I've learned over the years both through painful personal experiences and through watching others experiences - judging hurts and it is not our job. Jumping to conclusions when we are not privy to the inner workings of another's heart kills relationships! I get so sad when I think about relationships that I've ruined or not even given the chance to develop because I was so quick to judge based on a conclusion that I'd come up with all by myself. The sadness becomes more keen when I consider the times that another has judged or jumped to the wrong conclusion about my good intentions. I feel like God lets me go through those hard times so that I am more aware of my own sin and the hurt I cause others. Sadly though, it is still a sin with which I continue to struggle.
And so, when I'm taken back to my high school version, I feel embarrassed by the sin in my heart. This morning's musings took a turn that was so helpful and healing for my heart. I was reminded that the grace and mercy, forgiveness and love God has shown me covers all versions of myself. It is this knowledge that helped me snap out of my normally painful memories and speak the truth to myself again and again. It was so wonderful to remember that I'm forgiven for my high school version, my college version, my newly married version, and the current version I'm on. I know that when I look back in 5, 10, 15 years, I'll be keenly aware of all the mistakes I've made now.
I was also encouraged to keep the same thing in mind when relating to others in my life. God has grace, mercy, forgiveness and love for their prior versions - why wouldn't I? He also has the same grace, mercy, forgiveness and love for their current version - why wouldn't I? We live in a world that is full of sin, even Christians are not immune. We commonly refer to ourselves as "Sinners saved by Grace." It is easy to apply this name to myself and so hard to remember that it applies to others as well.
Thanks be to God that He is continually teaching me and helping me grow into a better versions of myself. A version that I can only pray would resemble Him more and me less.
"Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof-Public Sinner Number One - of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off-evidence of his endless patience-to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever."
1 Timothy 1:15-16 MSG