Posted by Brad Mitchell: I have hurt and disappointed literally thousands of people. I’m not being melodramatic. It’s a sad fact. I have done deep damage to two families--one of them my own. All because of a series of lies and deceptions that I began to accept which led to actions for which I have no one to blame but myself. This in turn led to consequences that continue to cascade long after the repentance and work toward healing.

There are seen and unseen forces which work hard to keep us locked--frozen--in that season of sin by definition. Voices which pummel our minds with “You are a ___________!” “You can’t be trusted because you _____________.” “God can never really bless you and use you because you ____________.”

I know. I still hear those voices accusing...attacking...relentless.

Early in my journey when the pain and exposure was raw and gaping, a leader put some salve on my soul by reminding me that many of those whom God used were people who had a fallen or broken past. People who had been given a second chance.

So I’ve been thinking about the people God has used throughout the pages of the Bible--people who made incredible impact for God. Abraham. Moses. Rahab. David. Jonah. Peter. Maybe you can add to the list. After each of their names could have come an adjective by which they would be forever identified: liar, murderer, prostitute, adulterer/murderer/faithless, coward, denier, abandoner. Sadly, several of those apply to my past as well.

While there are consequences and discipline that are attendant to those choices, the challenge is to not let those past actions define our present and future destiny. To do so is to deny--again--our relationship with Jesus. Because he doesn’t accuse. He doesn’t despise. Instead he takes the humble, the repentant, the broken--and he restores and redefines us.

So when I hear those voices accusing and attacking--I have to make a conscious choice to reject those lies. They are not who God says I am. They are not who God says you are.

Jesus redefines.

Here is who you are: you are redeemed, set free, washed clean, and given a new identity in Jesus. God sees you, loves you, and restores you. Your past does not define your present or your future.

Remember Abraham--the man of faith; Moses--the most humble man who ever lived; Rahab--the woman of faith and heroine; David--a man after God’s own heart; Jonah--used by God to save a wicked city; Peter--restored to spiritual authority and a leader in the early church.

Our future will be written on the pages of our lives as people who are afresh with a love for Jesus and our commitment to serve Him alone. I say “our” because I, too, am one who is healing, growing and learning about the new future as a person receiving the second chance.  Our future is bright, good, blessed...and redefined...because of grace.