Ugly caterpillar or beautiful butterfly

Sep

01

2022

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Sep

01

2022

So, a new friend found out about my past via Google at the recommendation of another friend. He watched my video testimony and called me to let me know he had done so. I asked him what he thought, and he said it scared him a little knowing that dangerous people like I had once been are out there walking around.

I told him he didn’t have to worry about me anymore because I was just a mellow doting grandpa these days. I went on to explain that at the age of 20 I had indeed been diagnosed by a team of psychiatrists as a dangerous sociopath, (psychopath) which is a supposedly an incurable condition. At the time I did not have a conscience, I had no feelings of remorse, was incapable of love, and filled with bitterness, and anger. I hated society and want to strike out at it. I felt empty and was cold-hearted to the extreme and was very dangerous. My mental condition was also fueled by meth which gives users hazardous psychotic paranoid delusions. On that fateful day I met Jesus, the Lord transformed me in an instant without breaking so much as a sweat. Turns out it wasn’t incurable. There is always hope and Christ’s Ministry of Reconciliation therapy can do what all our modern psychiatrists cannot. He is the great Healer.

Jesus transformed me into a new creature over 52 years ago now. It happened in a flash immediately after I finally surrendered my life to Him in prayer. A reader sent me this verse the other day and it helps to explain what happened to me. It does not explain how it happened, but what happened and who is responsible.

2 Corinthians 5:16
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know Him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ since God is making His appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

 I often think of the sin in which I was immersed, and I must fight those memories off and keep in mind I now am a new creature and everything old has passed away and everything has become new. I need to remind myself at times like those that our regrets, mistakes, and personal failures need not follow us into the present.

I know God has forgiven me and delivered me from my sins, so when I dwell on my old life it is me not forgiving myself and not God who has already forgiven me. I was thinking about this today and I wondered if the Apostle Paul sometimes laid awake at night reviewing the things he had done, such as persecuting Christians and even being responsible for their deaths. Three times Paul asked God to remove the “thorn in his flesh”. Many Bible scholars believe the “thorn” was his failing eyesight, but I have often wondered if Satan was trying to torment him for his behavior by reminding him of his sin-filled pre-Christian days. The Bible is silent on what the thorn was, so my guess is probably as good as theirs.

I say all this to say that if you have trouble forgiving yourself for sins like I sometimes do, give it a rest, and keep in mind that you are now a new creature mysteriously reconciled to God through the blood of Christ. It is a free gift of grace and stems from nothing that any of us has done, rather it was the action of Christ on the cross taking our punishment who erased those sins of our lives and made us into the righteousness of God.

Bottom line: When we repent of our sin, acknowledge Jesus as Lord, and believe in Jesus for salvation, the Bible says we are “born again” of the Spirit. Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin loses its power in our lives, and we are no longer enslaved to sin. We are restored to spiritual health as God’s Holy Spirit lives within us, enabling a close relationship with God.

Recognize Satan for what he is when he comes around hanging a guilt trip on you. Yes, you were and are a fleshly sinner, but those sins are forgiven if you are a believer in Christ. God views us as being pure and undefiled. I once had a beautiful elderly black lady that came to hear me speak. Afterwards she came up to me and gave me a big bear hug and then planted a sloppy wet kiss on my cheek. She told me, “God has done changed you from a “big ol’ ugly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly – Praise God”.

Amen! I like that metaphor and loved her for saying it in such an eloquent way…

Isaiah 43:18
“Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to the things of old.”

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