Back in high school, until one of us had a car, we’d hitchhike from Long Beach to Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City. South of the pier between guard stations 3 and 5 provided some of the best body surfing waves, so we’d swim to the outer break and merge with the water to catch one that would drive us shoreward until our bellies scraped the sand. Yeah, sometimes we’d target pretty girls standing in the shallow water, to come close enough to prompt their pretend-to-be-afraid screams.
Sometimes we’d wipe out. If the wave was big enough, and if we didn’t catch it just right, we’d get pulled over the falls and our faces would head for the sand below. The power tumbled us, disoriented, with little idea of the direction of the surface. But we’d stand up, shake our heads, grin a bit, and head back to catch another ride.
Following Jesus provides wipe outs much more pleasant than those from the waves. With no claims to omniscience, I remember my sins, too many of them, and regret often comes along. And sometimes, guilt and shame. But Peter gave a life changing option, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
That promise applies to people coming to Jesus, and to those who already walk with him. Sin and guilt enslave us, discourage us, and hinder us. They make us feel unworthy, to know God, to serve him, to tell others about him. And here’s the good wipe out—when we confess and repent, or turn away from it, those sins get wiped out. Their guilt gets wiped out. Their shame gets wiped out. The anchor to previous failing gets shattered.
This means we’re not chained to past guilt. It doesn’t limit us. So when a memory of sin comes in and guilt seeps into our souls, we simply remind ourselves, “Wiped out.”
It also means we’re not chained to past behavior. We can change, we can decrease our sins, we can grow. So when a memory of sin comes in and regret seeps into our souls, we simply remind ourselves, “Wiped out.”
Or, the next time Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of your future.
Kick Starting the Application
Think of a time when you remembered a past sin and guilt came flooding in. How did it impact your connection to God? To serving others? How could you have avoided any damage? Do you truly believe God fully forgives our sins? Does your response to memories of sin express that? How can you use memories of past sins in a healthy manner?