Lord Of The Past

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Lord Of The Past

Lord of the here and now
Lord of the come what may
I want to believe some­how
That You can heal these wounds of yes­ter­day
So now I’m ask­ing You
To do what You want to do
Be the Lord of my past
Oh how I want You to
Be the Lord of the past

— from “Lord Of The Past” by Bob Bennett

This past Sun­day, the mys­te­ri­ous yet not myth­i­cal Mrs. Dude and I were in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia attend­ing a con­cert fea­tur­ing three vet­er­ans of con­tem­po­rary Chris­t­ian music back when it was still called that: Bob Ben­nett, Michele Pil­lar, and Kelly Willard. Each would take a turn per­form­ing one of their songs with the other artists pro­vid­ing back­ing vocals where sug­gested, all unob­tru­sively backed by a smooth instru­men­tal quar­tet fea­tur­ing respected stu­dio and stage (over twenty years back­ing Neil Dia­mond live) gui­tarist Hadley Hockensmith.

Dur­ing one of his times Ben­nett dusted off one of his more obscure tunes. Orig­i­nally released as a new track to enhance a long out of print com­pi­la­tion, later rere­corded for a mostly stripped down release fea­tur­ing him alone with his gui­tar, Ben­nett intro­duced “Lord of the Past” by com­ment­ing on the song’s core mes­sage, adding how many mis­tak­enly believe that Jesus’ for­giv­ing, via the Cross, the penalty of our sins is com­men­su­rate with elim­i­nat­ing the con­se­quences of our sin. In short, no it does not. Which can be a very, very hard les­son to learn.

There is a dan­ger in assum­ing the above trans­lates solely into our need­ing to accept the con­se­quences of our actions toward oth­ers. Cer­tainly this fac­tors into the mat­ter; accept­ing own­er­ship of the fall­out from what we have done is a vital part of any believer’s walk with Christ. That said, it is not the only part. What we do in regard to the con­se­quences of actions by oth­ers toward us also mat­ters. Some­times, it is the pri­mary action item on our life agenda.

The past sev­eral weeks have seen a tor­rent of harsh, often hor­rid accu­sa­tions and occa­sional, pathetic recrim­i­na­tions regard­ing men in posi­tions of power abus­ing their sta­tus by using it as a con­duit for sex­u­ally harass­ing women up to and includ­ing rape. There is no excuse, nor jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, for this. Nor is there accept­abil­ity for telling abused women they need to get over it and get on with it. A woman who has had that which is intended for the divine, the expres­sion of pas­sion­ate love between man and wife that also sym­bol­izes the pas­sion of Christ the Bride­groom for His bride the church, threat­ened or stolen can­not rea­son­ably be expected to sim­ply hit the “what’s done is done” switch and sing hey nonny nonny as she mer­rily goes on her way. The vio­la­tion of body, mind, and soul demands deep care to regain so much as basic soci­etal func­tion­al­ity, let alone true healing.

Chris­tian­ity is at its heart about for­give­ness: the for­give­ness offered by Jesus on the Cross; His com­mand to His fol­low­ers to for­give oth­ers even as they are for­given by Him. While Scrip­ture tells us God “for­gets” that for which He for­gives the pen­i­tent, for­give­ness on an earthly level is not for­get­ting what oth­ers have done. It is free­ing one­self from the penalty of being bur­dened by the actions of oth­ers. The con­se­quences remain, yet we are no longer bound by them. New life is available.

In the same fash­ion, while the con­se­quences of our past actions toward our­self and oth­ers live on, we do not have to for­ever live under their specter. One of depression’s most hideous lies is con­flat­ing the inescapa­bil­ity of our past actions con­se­quences with said actions for­ever defin­ing our present and future state of being. We are more than the sum total of our past. We are infused, trans­formed by the Holy Spirit. We are not con­demned to repeat the past. The next time does not have to be a recy­cling of the last time. Today does not have to be yesterday.

The past can be and oft­times is far bet­ter or far worse than our present. We can­not change the past. We can resolve to live our lives in the here and now, embrac­ing today even as we embrace Christ. We can allow Him to embrace us, find­ing in Him heal­ing and hope in the here and now. We can give to Him that which we can nei­ther deny or change — namely, the past — and let the eter­nal Lord do what only the eter­nal Lord can do. He wants to help. He wants to heal.

Will we let Him?

https://youtu.be/kIgNzcvOXI4

Lord of the here and now

Lord of the come what may

I want to believe somehow

That You can heal these wounds of yesterday

So now I’m asking You

To do what You want to do

Be the Lord of my past
Oh how I want You to
Be the Lord of the past


— from “Lord Of The Past” by Bob Bennett

This past Sunday, the mysterious yet not mythical Mrs. Dude and I were in Southern California attending a concert featuring three veterans of contemporary Christian music back when it was still called that: Bob Bennett, Michele Pillar, and Kelly Willard. Each would take a turn performing one of their songs with the other artists providing backing vocals where suggested, all unobtrusively backed by a smooth instrumental quartet featuring respected studio and stage (over twenty years backing Neil Diamond live) guitarist Hadley Hockensmith.

During one of his times Bennett dusted off one of his more obscure tunes. Originally released as a new track to enhance a long out of print compilation, later rerecorded for a mostly stripped down release featuring him alone with his guitar, Bennett introduced “Lord of the Past” by commenting on the song’s core message, adding how many mistakenly believe that Jesus’ forgiving, via the Cross, the penalty of our sins is commensurate with eliminating the consequences of our sin. In short, no it does not. Which can be a very, very hard lesson to learn.

There is a danger in assuming the above translates solely into our needing to accept the consequences of our actions toward others. Certainly this factors into the matter; accepting ownership of the fallout from what we have done is a vital part of any believer’s walk with Christ. That said, it is not the only part. What we do in regard to the consequences of actions by others toward us also matters. Sometimes, it is the primary action item on our life agenda.

The past several weeks have seen a torrent of harsh, often horrid accusations and occasional, pathetic recriminations regarding men in positions of power abusing their status by using it as a conduit for sexually harassing women up to and including rape. There is no excuse, nor justification, for this. Nor is there acceptability for telling abused women they need to get over it and get on with it. A woman who has had that which is intended for the divine, the expression of passionate love between man and wife that also symbolizes the passion of Christ the Bridegroom for His bride the church, threatened or stolen cannot reasonably be expected to simply hit the “what’s done is done” switch and sing hey nonny nonny as she merrily goes on her way. The violation of body, mind, and soul demands deep care to regain so much as basic societal functionality, let alone true healing.

Christianity is at its heart about forgiveness: the forgiveness offered by Jesus on the Cross; His command to His followers to forgive others even as they are forgiven by Him. While Scripture tells us God “forgets” that for which He forgives the penitent, forgiveness on an earthly level is not forgetting what others have done. It is freeing oneself from the penalty of being burdened by the actions of others. The consequences remain, yet we are no longer bound by them. New life is available.

In the same fashion, while the consequences of our past actions toward ourself and others live on, we do not have to forever live under their specter. One of depression’s most hideous lies is conflating the inescapability of our past actions consequences with said actions forever defining our present and future state of being. We are more than the sum total of our past. We are infused, transformed by the Holy Spirit. We are not condemned to repeat the past. The next time does not have to be a recycling of the last time. Today does not have to be yesterday.

The past can be and ofttimes is far better or far worse than our present. We cannot change the past. We can resolve to live our lives in the here and now, embracing today even as we embrace Christ. We can allow Him to embrace us, finding in Him healing and hope in the here and now. We can give to Him that which we can neither deny or change — namely, the past — and let the eternal Lord do what only the eternal Lord can do. He wants to help. He wants to heal.

Will we let Him?