January 1 might have already passed, but because it is still the first month of the year, most of us feel that it is still not too late to start our “a list to change” or “a list to improve on.” Let me tell you the good news: With the Lord, everyday is always the start of a new year for you.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, for His compassions never fail. His mercies are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22)
How wonderful it is to know that Our God is a God of not only second, but of X number of chances.
Our God is an unli-forgiving God! Not only that, did you know that the forgiveness that the Lord offers is unlike any other? I am sure you’ve heard of “forgive and forget,” and how people would always exclaim “I could forgive of course, but NEVER forget!” Guess what, that is exactly how the Lord forgives us and consequently, expects us to forgive others.
In Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” AMAZING RIGHT? Every time we ask for forgiveness and truly repent, the Lord is faithful and merciful enough to forgive and forget our sins. We always start with a clean slate with Him!
Having this in mind, let me introduce to you a recommended approach on how to start this new year. I discovered the idea through the weekly devotional book Better Than Jewels of a schoolmate in Ateneo, sister in Christ and Pastor’s Wife Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio.
In the first entry for January 1 to 7, Rica suggests that “it is beneficial to begin the New by first clearing away the debris of the Old.” We must first recognize the mistakes we have made and ask for forgiveness from the Lord for those in order to clear our conscience (debris) before we can actually start anew.
This makes perfect sense; In order for us to meditate on new perspectives and plans, we must declutter the remnants of the past and completely deal with our baggages in order for us to fully move forward.
Mrs. Bo (as she is fondly called by most, and known on social media) encourages her readers to list down the things they regret and feel sorry for doing the past year. Yes, yes we do not like facing old issues at the face of a new year right? Especially if we have been looking forward to the new year to really begin new things…and be new people altogether. Why should I revisit the painful, ugly, regretful past? The purpose of which, as per the author is so that, “we can be free from whatever may possibly pull us back from claiming our best year yet. Part of pursuing the best for our lives is to acknowledge that some things have to be left behind.” So in order for us to truly leave those behind, we have to go back, face them and be intentional about removing their hold on us by forgiving.
The next step of the two-fold “Brand New Way to Your New Year’s List” as you may have guessed is finally to write down your new aspirations, new goals.
Well you have to get yourself a copy of Better Than Jewels to find out and bask in the wisdom of Rica. The book is available at OMFLit Bookstores. (I was honestly surprised that it is a weekly devotional instead of daily. But now I thank Rica because it would eat practically my entire morning everyday! Her reflections pull you in to meditate tremendously and you lose track of time giving thought to her writings. Thank God it is just weekly! Haha!)
The reason why I brought up this topic of resolution lists and new mercies and clean slates is because us parents—or maybe first as individuals—have so many things in the past we choose to run away from instead of dealing with (maybe not just last year but even many more years behind).
From people who may have hurt us, to incidents we couldn’t forgive ourselves from, to little respectable sins we shrug off but continue to build up through time—all because of our failure to recognize them and agree with God that we sinned (NOTE: Refusing to forgive is sin. Even if you were the correct party). And the more we run away from those, the more we see our past fast catching up with us.
The peril in running away from your past? You keep running. Until one day you get tired. And on that day when you are so restless, you find yourself face to face with your bitter and ugly past but you are too weary to deal with it.
My point is, dealing with your past gives you rest in the present AND future. You have peace in your heart and you can sleep well each night because there was nothing unresolved. You made peace with your past. And as a result you can truly and fully move into the beautiful, blessed life God has for you. (PS: Sin blocks blessings. Unforgiveness is sin. Therefore, unforgiveness blocks blessings. May this be a good reason for you to truly forgive, so that you may receive God’s favor.)
Maybe you are running away from something. And if you have been anxious for quite sometime, consider the above approach. Do bear in mind that your wholeness (or brokenness) as a person greatly affects the way you “parent.”
Us parents cannot afford to make our children bear the bitterness, unforgiveness and resentment we have with our past. Do me a favor, move on from those for your child’s sake, will you?