As we start a new year, it’s a perfect time to put the bad stuff behind us and start with a beautifully clean slate. There’s something magical about that new number at the end of every date.
Many of us will make resolutions about adding new exercise routines. Some will set out to quit a harmful habit. Others will determine to develop a fresh relationship.
Aiming for new heights of personal growth is an excellent way to start any new year. Having goals helps us achieve milestones – or simply move forward in a direction we should be going.
When we fail at our resolutions, it can be really frustrating. When those failures hurt us or others, it’s easy to beat ourselves up. An apology to the offended person may be in order – or taking action to make up for the wrong we did.
The one thing I take comfort in is that God always forgives us. All we need is to reach out and ask him for forgiveness. God has the ability to forget better than we can possibly imagine: “He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).
It’s easy to hang onto guilt. For some reason, occasionally we love to wallow in our bad feelings. Maybe we feel that beating up ourselves for doing wrong somehow makes up for the bad.
Jesus took care of all our bad actions and thoughts when he died on the cross. Give the bad stuff back to him. He can handle it. “But if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9).
I’m resting in that comforting truth as I begin my new year.
Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.