When Your Past Isn’t Pure

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhoto.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhoto.net

In over 33 years of marriage and almost as many years in full-time ministry, we have learned a few things about temptation and sin: 1) None of us is above falling and failing, 2) Satan will leverage our failure to keep us down, and 3) God wants us to walk in HIS victory, not in our failures.

This has profound implications on a marriage. If a spouse is burdened by their past—whether it is recent or long ago—it affects the dynamics of the marriage. They are living with reduced hope, limited confidence, a more critical spirit, and spiritual distance from God and their spouse.

We’ve walked the journey of sin, pain, and shame. We understand—and we can write with confidence that there IS hope, there IS victory, and there IS restoration for you through Jesus Christ! Here are four things to remember when your past isn’t pure:

1) Receive Grace

We can so easily hold things against ourselves that God forgave the moment we confessed. When we continue to hold our sins against us, we are indirectly saying, “The blood of Jesus can’t cleanse me from this and make me pure.” Do you truly believe that? Of course not! So receive the grace that God extends to you.

But how do we do that? By reminding ourselves, “I am forgiven. I am washed clean. The shed blood of Jesus makes me white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18; 1 John 1:9). Thank God for His forgiveness for whatever is in your past that’s been difficult for you.

2) Reject Shame

Shame is not of God, but from the enemy. Shame speaks to what you did, God’s Word speaks to who you are. You are dearly loved. You are forgiven. You are God’s child. You are redeemed. You are restored. You are reconciled. You are purified. You are free from condemnation. You are holy. You are chosen. You are anointed. You are blessed.

When shame comes upon you, immediately rejected it. Immediately breathe a prayer out loud saying, “In the name, power and blood of Jesus, I reject that shame. I have been forgiven and I now walk in who I am.

3) Regain Confidence

Move forward in the confidence of who you are and what God has done for you. You may not feel confident, but you have confidence in God and the truth of His word. So live it and eventually the feelings of confidence will follow. Recently, Brad wrote the following poem about this:

Confident Restoration
By Brad Mitchell

I know your pain, I see your sadness,
You feel distant, I am sure.
But all’s not lost, you’re not stuck in blackness,
There is hope, I am the cure.

Remember it takes time to heal,
Just walk in Whose you are.
It doesn’t come by how you feel,
For My truth will carry you far.

For when you chose to do that sin,
And the others through your strife,
I knew that they were coming,
So My Son gave up His life.

Shame may blow in from Satan’s roar,
His attacks he starts to spew.
But let My voice remind you more:
“You’re forgiven, I’m with you.”

4) Renew Focus

Now look ahead. Don’t look back. Focus on your future as a forgiven man or woman. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. And let the freshness and freedom you have in Christ spill over as you build your marriage!

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Forbes

    Love this poem, Brad.

    Reflecting on it, I found myself wondering if the second stanza would work as a refrain and with a few more verses, you would have a beautiful song of reassurance and comfort, hope and expectation?!

    Reading it through a second time, I noted that the poem matches the movements of the Psalms of Ascent. I love Walter Brueggemann’s work on these. For example, Brueggemann points out that all of the Psalms can be characterized as Psalms of orientation, disorientation and reorientation. Orientation, disorientation and reorientation also reflect the cycle of life whether it be “just living life” or struggling through a besetting sin or journeying through a trial or tribulation. As these three movements suggest, the most difficult part of the journey is working through disorientation toward reorientation. Thus, God wrote Psalms and laments for each part of the journey. Psalms of lament, which make up two thirds of the Psalm provide comfort and hope to us in our disorientation and movement toward reorientation.

    Like wise, your poem encourages the reader through their disorientation and urges them onward with its message of reorientation. “I know your thinking and how you feel, but let your mind be renewed with these truths.” For example, in stanza one, your poem provides empathy and identification with the person’s pain. In stanza two you remind the reader to find their identity in Christ and not in their sin or their own sense of self – a popular idea in today’s culture). Third stanza upholds the power of the cross with the wonderful timeless truth, “embrace the cross, let it have its perfect work in you.” Then, stanza four invites the reader to embrace the truth that will set them free.

    Thus, the poem affirms the disorientation that the reader is in, but helps them to find their way through it by reorienting their thoughts and feelings. Love it!

    As well, the Psalm is a great teaching tool for folks who are journeying with a friend who is going through some deep stuff. The example that the poem expresses of what it is to come along side is so well done.
    We are going to use it in courses that we teach on prayer and on pastoral care. Well done – so well done! If you add verses at some point please post!

    Also, you might be interested in knowing that Walter Brueggemann makes his home in Cincinnati. He is an amazing speaker. You Tube videos abound of him abound. A workshop that we attended with him teaching on the Psalms of Ascent was one of the highlights of our 30+ years walking with God.
    Together with you and Heidi to know Him and to make Him known,
    Penney

    • Thank you so much, Penney! The insights you gave on the Psalms as well as Walter Brueggemann’s teaching was new and insightful for me. I’m grateful for comments and teaching–I learned a lot from them! I had no idea that Dr. Brueggemann lived in Cincinnati. I’ll definitely be checking out his videos and teaching. Blessings to you and your family!

  • buildyourmarriage

    Thank you so much, Penney! The insights you gave on the Psalms as well as Walter Brueggemann’s teaching was new and insightful for me. I’m grateful for comments and teaching–I learned a lot from them! I had no idea that Dr. Brueggemann lived in Cincinnati. I’ll definitely be checking out his videos and teaching. Blessings to you and your family!