Jules Vern popularized it. Marty McFly made it cool. At the flip of a switch, or strike of lightning, they could move to the past, to the future and back again. It would be fun to dive back into the 1950s or to leap ahead to explore the amazing advances of the future. Perhaps though most of us would take a smaller leap, say to last week to relive that conversation and try to fix what didn't quite go as we thought it would.
Until time travel can leap from the realms of fantasy into reality, we are all stuck with having to face reality. These are the days in which you were blessed to live. Your past is defining, but it does not define you. The amazing wonder of grace is that change can come to men and women. The past for many can become an unseen bondage. A prison that keeps so many in the past never to enjoy the grace of today and the hope of tomorrow.
Peter understood the importance of moving past your past. He writes, "Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God's people."
Moving past your past demands an honest look at your past. Asking the tough questions: "Who was I?" "What did I do?" Some of us allow the past to define the present because we have never taken the time to clearly define the past. Events need to be defined in order to understand them.
Peter's spiritual understanding is very clear. Before you knew God, you had no identity. Your sense of self understanding was based upon internal fluid notions. Who you were yesterday can change today based on your understanding of personality, emotional health and energy.
But what if you could look at your life through God's eyes? To see how it is that God has defined you. If we listened to the one who deals only in absolutes and knows more about us than we do we would hear him say "This is how I have created you to be. Now run and be free!"
Coming to honest terms with your past is overshadowed by recognize who you can become in God's grace. God can completely transform the past into a gift of freedom in the present.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer.