Luke 23:42-43 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Do not live your life being a victim of your past. Why should it be that way when it is not your past that determines your future but rather how you choose to respond to the circumstances that you face every day. The story of the two criminals who hung on the cross with Jesus gives evidence that your past does not have to determine your future. They had made similar mistakes being convicted criminals and found themselves in the same position – about to be crucified, yet they ended up in two different places. How could that be? It all boiled down to how each chose to respond. One railed on Jesus saying “if thou be Christ, save thyself and us”. His words revealed that he wanted good, but took the wrong approach to getting it. The other criminal rebuked him and said “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom”. Jesus responded to him by saying, “today thou shalt be with me in paradise”. His end was one of eternal rest, while that of the other was eternal damnation. The main takeaway from this story is that we must give careful consideration to how we respond to the situations we face as it could be the difference between victory and defeat.
There are 2 lessons we can learn from the criminal who chose the right response. First, his response was futuristic in nature: he asked Jesus to remember him when He went to his kingdom. Eternal salvation was on his mind. The other criminal was seeking immediate gratification. He wanted Jesus to save them from being crucified and in the process failed to show the humility and respect required. The lesson that we can learn from that is to get past our past we must direct our responses or decisions towards creating the future we want to create and not immediate self-gratification.
The second notable thing about the response of this criminal was that he believed in Jesus. The evidence of that is that he referred to Jesus as Lord and spoke of his kingdom. The other doubted who Jesus was in saying “if thou be the Christ”. Because the former believed in Jesus he achieved his desired end as a result of his response being built upon the word of God. The lesson to be learnt from this is that you can get past your past by believing in Jesus and by extension building your decisions on the word of God. What you believe is what you will do.
Life Application: Get past your past by making decisions for the future and not the present and building those decisions around the word of God.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being a God who does not hold our past against us. Thank you for second, third and a million chances. May I make decisions for the future on your word. In Jesus name, amen.