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Who You Are
Brett Anderson ©2002

This week I was busy working on the computer while my mom was watching a programme on tv called "Walker Texas Ranger" with Chuck Norris as this Ranger dude who goes round helping people and saving the day and this particular episode dealt with a story involving all the normal characters, but set in the Wild West.

Ranger was playing this Bounty Hunter who went around rounding up the bad guys and in this story (I was half watching while I tried to catch up on emails) he joined this group of settlers who were being hounded by this group of brothers.

There was this one woman, Kate, who had recently joined the group and she was teaching the kids schoolwork and religious instruction. During the story they catch one of the bad guys and he recognises Kate as a woman who used to be involved in the dancehall - associated with women of ill repute. She gets embarrassed and runs away and Walker Texas Ranger tracks her down and finds her crying at the side of a tree and he goes to talk to her and this is how their simple yet deeply profound conversation ends:

Ranger: Go tell him who you are.

Kate: What, Kate, the dancehill girl?

Ranger: Not who you were, who you are: Kate Burns the schoolmarm.

Very simple exchange of words, yet it really impacted me deeply because that is such a picture of what our lives are meant to look like once we have had an encounter with Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 shows us this principle:

"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way , we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us - we implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

There are two focus points of this thort - the way we view ourselves and the way we look at others.

Firstly when the Bible says the old has gone, the new has come, that is a picture of what our life is meant to be like when we become a Christian. As Jesus demonstrated on the cross in Luke 23:43 it really doesn't matter what your life has been - when you make a commitment to Him, that guarentees you righteousness and a place with Him in paradise.

A lot of people hold on to guilt from stuff they have done in the past or from the kind of person that they were but that is all wiped away at the moment of identifying yourself with Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection. That was the whole point of what He did - to defeat sin and all the guilt and unworthiness and things like that that go with it.

The devil likes to remind us of who we were and how we messed up but Jesus response to that I think would be similiar to that of Walker Texas Ranger... go and tell him who you are... not who you were, but who you are - child of God who has been washed clean of sin and guilt from the past. Is that you attitude/condition...? If not then I urge you to make it so.

At the same time it is not a case of saying, "Well God has cleaned me so I can do what I want" - again as Jesus showed when dealing with the woman caught in sin. In John 8 Jesus asks the woman who was going to be stoned, once all her accusers have left, convicted of their own guilt:

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

So absolute forgiveness from Jesus but at the same time, the command to go and sin no more. We have been freed from our past, but we still need to live our present as a child of God, not as one under sin.

Secondly, the way we view others. If Jesus has forgiven someone and cleaned them up, then what right do we have to keep bringing up the past and judging others on the basis of what they have done? Let us try and shift our focus and attention somewhat and look at who the other person is, not who they used to be...

So, in the way you think, in the way you view yourself, in the respect you have for who you are, and the confidence that you have in Jesus Christ who forgives as you repent and ask for it... and also in the way you life your life... let all of that be a statement, not of who you were, but of WHO YOU ARE...