Do you know what bothers me most sometimes with myself and with other people? When I tend to forget my mistakes, wrongs decisions and errors and start running foward with all my might. I fully expect to win the race I'm running, without difficulty, without obstacle, without consequence.
You might ask, "Why is this dangerous?" It's dangerous because I've completely ignored the pitfalls, road blocks and holes I've tripped over, fell into and became ensnared with in the past. If I learn nothing from my past mistakes, I'll never stop making the same mistakes again and again.
You tell me which is better to run? Recklessly and without adandon, or carefully with precaution?
Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not popular or desirable to follow the latter. It's slower, harder and comes with a bad, bad case of self denial and responsibility. We all want to run without abandon, and when we fall on our face, we NEVER blame ourselves. It's always the rock's fault, the hole's fault or the obstacle in our way keeping us from reaching our destination in one piece.
If you're honest with yourself, you know this is the truth. However, I've come to learn that many of us are not honest with ourselves or anyone else. We lie all the time, convincing we're justified in our actions, anger, bitterness and resentment. We have short-term memory problems, but does God? Usually when all hell breaks loose in our life, we contribute it to either something we are currently doing or not doing. We forget what we've already done, thinking and convincing ourselves that we've dealt with that past offense and no longer face the consequences of our actions. My friend, that's wishful thinking. Having a mindset like that is like running recklessly and without abandon.
God does forgive, but in His perfect LOVE, He corrects, He purges, He rebukes, He trains and He chastises us in order to permanently remove our weaknesses, blemishes, blunders and immoral character. It hurts. It isn't easy. But, without carrying the weight of those things that easily entangles us, we can run a wise race. It doesn't matter that its full of entrapments and snares, because through experience, through trials, through facing the consequences, and learning from our mistakes, we can now trust Him as HE guides us through until we reach the finish line.
There are things we sometimes do that are 'religious', because it's what we've been told to do.
Instead of balking about the 'religion' of the ritual, consider it's original purpose. Because beneath the 'religion' of everything, you'll find reason and purpose.
I.e. The Levitical Law to abstain from pork. At first you avoid eating pork just because religion dictates you don't eat pork. If you only follow the religion, then eventually you'll eat pork just to rebel against the religion. You'll cling to every thought and excuse you can conjure to 'justify' eating pork. But, if you consider the reason behind the religious rule, you'll discover a warning to protect your health.
I.e. The New Testament commandment not to forsake assembling together with your brother's and sisters - attending church. If you go to church because the Christian religion dictates your attendance, eventually you'll quit going in rebellion to the religion. You'll cling to any and every reason to justify not going. That's the natural thing to do. But, if you consider the spiritual purpose of gathering together, you'll discover it is for your own personal growth, accountablility and responsibility that you attend.
Bottom line though... does God ever change? Does He ever waiver? Does He allow or overlook the breaking of ANY of His commandments without consequence? Not according to the Word. Whatever you sow, you'll reap. For every sin there's a blood price to be paid. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, a consequence.
So, while I tend to 'forget' my past trespasses, God will bring every one of my deeds into judgment, even the ones I convienently don't remember. Thank God for His Grace and His Mercy. By them both, I have a chance to face/deal with my actions BEFORE its too late. I quit making excuses for myself or anyone else who's lying to themselves.