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
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...