Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
"Your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: “This is the way. Walk in it, you people.” (Isaiah 30:21)
We cannot change our past; however, we can be resolved to choose associates and an environment that will affect our conscience in a good way. A key step is regularly being with devoted Christians who have long tried to be like their Father. Congregation meetings, including association before and after them, provide excellent opportunities for that. We can note the Bible-based thinking and reactions of fellow Christians, including their readiness to listen as their conscience echoes God’s outlook and ways. Over time, this can help us to harmonize our own conscience with Bible principles, bringing us closer to God’s image. When we attune our inner voice to our Father’s principles and yield to the good influence of fellow Christians, our conscience will be more reliable and we will be more inclined to listen to what it says.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/07, 1:18)
*inordinate guilt over past mistakes or ruminating over our weaknesses, only serves to slow us down or halt us from making spiritual progress and moving forward. This is one of the areas that those in the prison ministry report as being the biggest obstacle for some inmates. I remember a really good discourse given by a brother who used the examples of King David and Paul to show how Jehovah sees past even serious faults and inherent flaws, and looks at our POTENTIAL. When you read the account about the apostle Paul after he first learned the truth on his way to Damascus, you can really appreciate the mental and emotional burden of guilt and shame that he must have been carrying, knowing that he was responsible for the persecution of so many Christians and approving of the death of Stephen. But that didn't stop him from taking decisive action and beginning to preach and associate with the Christians, (as difficult as it was) since they all knew about his former reputation. That's a good point to remind those who are dealing with similar issues regarding their past, if we see that they're having a hard time becoming actively involved and associating with members of the congregation. Also, we can imitate the example of Ananias and Barnabas, who reached out to Paul and supported his efforts, which made it easier for him to feel welcome and join himself to the Christian congregation. The talk "Coping With Plagues of the Heart" (on my download page) has some really encouraging advice for anyone who is struggling to overcome negative feelings regarding "the past" which can help them to press forward.