I can relate to Paul’s amazement at being shown mercy. I’ve lived in the same part of Maryland since I was a boy. Hardly a month goes by that I’m not reminded of who I once was.
Before God saved me in 1972, I, too, was a blasphemer. I lived for myself and my own pleasure. I lived in rebellion against God and mocked those who followed him. I spent my high school and college years deeply immersed in the local drug culture.
Sometimes, late at night, my friends and I would seek out quiet, isolated places where we could come down safely from drug highs. On more than a few occasions it was a D.C. monument. Other times a peaceful street under thick, deep trees. Or even the terminal at what was then a little-used airport called Dulles, where the doors stayed open long after the day’s flights had ceased and we could move through the nearly deserted canyon of a building.
Someday soon I’ll be near one of those places again, and the memories will flood back in. I’ll remember what I once was, and be reminded of what I now am.
Often my eyes fill with tears at the memories of my foolishness and sin. And in the same instant, my heart will be filled with an unspeakable, holy joy. I am no longer the same! By the finished work of Christ on the cross, I’ve been forgiven of the countless sins I’ve committed.
Many people today try to run from the past. I suppose I could try to as well, by leaving the hometown that holds so many reminders of my sinfulness. But I consider living here a gift from God. The regular reminders of my past are precious to me.
Why? Because, like Paul, I never want to forget the great mercy shown me.
C.J. Mahaney, The Cross Centered Life, 16-17