THE MAN WITH TWO FACES
In ancient Rome, it was taught that there was a man with two faces, one in front and one in back. They taught their children about him, placed a picture of him on a coin, and even built a temple where people could honor and worship him. His name was Janus, and they named the first month of the year, January, after him. With two faces, they said, he could look forward and backward at the same time.
Of course, no person with two faces ever lived. God has made us with only one face, in front, because He wants us to look ahead. We should only look back if this will help us live better lives in the future. One wise person said, “The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you. We must learn from the past, but not live in the past.”
The Apostle Paul had a past he was ashamed of. Yet, to the church at Philippi, he said about himself, “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14). He portrays himself as a runner on life’s race course, and he would not allow anything, not even his past, to prevent him from reaching his goal. The word he used for “forgetting” is a strong one. It means “completely forgetting.” The lesson for us is, when we dwell on our past sins and failures, our progress is hindered. The late columnist, Ann Landers wrote, “It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets of yesterday, and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are the twin thieves that rob us of today.”
A speaker started his speech by holding up a $ 20.00 bill before a capacity crowd. He asked, “Who would like this $ 20.00 bill?” Hands went up throughout the room. He said, “I’m going to give this $ 20.00 bill to one of you, but first, let me do this.” He began to crumple the bill. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were in the air. “Well,” he responded, “What if I do this?” He dropped it and began grinding it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, but now it was dirty and smashed. “Now who wants it?” Hands again shot up all over. “Ladies and gentlemen, you have learned a most valuable lesson,” he said. “No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it, because it did not decrease in value. It is still worth $ 20.00.” Throughout our lives we are crumpled, dropped, and end up in the dirt by the decisions we make and various circumstances. We feel as though we are worthless. However, in God’s sight, we never lose our worth. To Him, though scarred and marred, we are still redeemable. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Charles Spurgeon proclaimed, “I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.” So, the next time you feel you cannot be forgiven, restored and useful to God, remember this. Noah got drunk, Jacob was a liar, Moses doubted, Samson was a womanizer, Jonah ran from God, Job went bankrupt, David committed adultery and murder, Martha was worried and stressed out, Zaccheus was small of stature, the Samaritan woman was divorced numerous times and living with a man out of wedlock, and Lazarus was dead! Yet, all of these people, Christ changed their lives. Euripides, a Greek writer of long ago, said, “Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.”
Psalm 130 is named the “De Profundis Psalm”: “Out of the depths,” are its leading words. Speaking of redemption, the psalmist writes, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (verses 3 and 4). Augustine stated, “God leads us to eternal life, not by our merits but according to His mercy.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.”