As I have mentioned before, my father was in the military so we moved several times while I was growing up. During my sophomore year of high school, I made some poor choices with friends and activities, was doing things I shouldn’t be doing, and was failing school. So when the school year ended and once again we were moving to a new town, I was relieved. I had an opportunity to leave my poor choices and bad reputation behind. I would get a fresh start with a clean slate. I could begin again.
As one year comes to a close and a new one begins, we can have a fresh start in our lives. We can’t change the things that happened in our lives this year, but we can put our poor choices behind us. We can cut the ties to an ugly history of past mistakes.
We can commit to develop a closer relationship with Christ in this year. We can confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness. Then we can know in our spirit that our sins are completely erased. As if they never happened at all.
He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalms 103:10-12
And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. Hebrews 8:12 NLT
Like my moving to a new town in high school, we all have a chance to start. We can begin the year with a clean slate.
We will still make mistakes.
Poor decisions. Conscious choices to sin.
Maybe even outright rebellion against a holy God.
But each time we sin this year, we can go to God with a repentant heart.
He will be faithful to forgive us and wipe our slate clean again. As if it never happened.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 NLT
It’s not always easy for us to let go of some of our past sins. We decide our penance is that we have to carry the guilt around forever. But that’s not what God wants for us. He wants us to do the work to get rid of the sin and the guilt that goes along with it. We do that by confessing our sin to God, repenting (turning around to go the opposite way), and asking the Holy Spirit to change our heart.
So as a new calendar year begins, let this be a fresh start for you. A clean slate. A forgotten past. A forgiving and merciful God.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24