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Getting Past Yesterday's Failures, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2023 7:05 am

Getting Past Yesterday's Failures, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 16, 2023 7:05 am

Restoring Your Family's Foundation

Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

Think of what Paul had to forget, running with the Pharisees, chasing down Christians, hoping to see them arrested, even killed. All of that was in his past, forgetting the past, looking forward to the future I press on. Thanks for listening this Truth Network Podcast.

Join us to look at a passage in Isaiah where the prophet describes how to remove the heavy yoke of oppression. It's an encouragement to anyone who's ready to press on to the future. Chuck titled today's message, Getting Past Yesterday's Failures. We come today to the seventh and final message on this miniseries on the family that we have been enjoying together. I say enjoying, much of it has been convicting, as it has been instructive for all of us. We always welcome the message from God's Word that helps set the record straight.

Silence is those areas of tradition that have been in error, as well as clarifies places where there has been confusion. Today is no exception. We come to address the subject, Getting Past Yesterday's Failures, a very real issue when coming to terms with the truth. I want to read for you from Isaiah 58 verses 6 through 12, a passage obviously addressing the Jewish people of the prophet's day, centuries before Christ came. Isaiah 58, 6 through 12, however, provides application for the family, as we will see toward the conclusion of my message today. Beginning at verse 6, I'll be reading from the New Living Translation.

This is the kind of fasting I want. Free those who are wrongly imprisoned. Lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry. Give shelter to the homeless.

Give clothes to those who need them. Do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then you will call. The Lord will answer, yes, I am here. He will quickly reply. Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.

Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors. Feed the hungry. Help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures Studies by going to slash studies. And now let's resume the message that Chuck titled, Getting Past Yesterday's Failures. Few feelings are harder to live with than guilt and shame. When they overwhelm us, it's like we are drowning, like drowning in self-defeating thoughts, memories of faults and failures from the past. Sometimes they come in like a flood. They interrupt our sleep. They disturb our peace. We can't seem to shake them because, as the Psalmist writes, our sins are ever before us. They are there, fixed in our minds.

We can't erase them. Ever since I started this brief series on the family, I've known this day was coming. As a result, I've spent hours preparing my thoughts today and probably will be a little more attached to my notes than normal because there's a lot to say and I don't want to miss any of it or misstate any part of it. I've asked the Lord to guide clearly and to speak through his word using my voice box to connect with all of you, you who are here and you who are at a distance from us.

I speak to every one of us, especially to parents. Let's face it, when we got married, we were young, ignorant and broke. We didn't know what we were doing. We thought we could just live on love. From then on, just love our way through life. Well, that got cold about the second week.

Didn't work. Then we started having children. We thought, how great is this?

Look at this adorable child. Hard to believe a baby that adorable could come from two people like us. We didn't know what we were doing. We just raised them up like we were raised, making the same mistakes our parents made, sometimes worse. There were times our discipline was erratic, too soft when it should have been harder and stronger, too severe when it should have been more compassionate and caring. But we didn't know what we were doing.

There was no manual to follow. If the Bible said anything about rearing children, it spoke in a language that was ancient and it didn't really seem to address the things we were struggling with. By and by, those children grew up and a distance formed between us. It had been going on for some time. We kept hoping it would end.

But before long, like the folk song of yesteryear, we found ourselves passing like ships in the night. Our son or our daughter or both wanted little to do with us. We were filled with guilt and shame. They were filled with resentment and disappointment.

It was hard to bear. All of this brings us to the major question. What do we do about the sins of our past, the failures of yesterday? How do we handle them today? God certainly doesn't want his people to live under the haunting presence of guilt submerged in shame. Let me begin with three painful realities of our humanity. First, we are all imperfect people. That includes our children.

Those who grow up and become young adults marry and have their children. We are all imperfect, sinful people. Romans 3.23 is usually used in addressing the subject of salvation. I want to use it as it relates to our imperfection as parents. In the New Living Translation, for everyone has sinned, we all fall short of the glorious standards of God. We all have sinned. We all fall short. To drive this home, your mother and your father fell short. They were sinners, may have been great people, but they were at birth, at heart, and in their will, sinful. Just as you are. Just as our children are. This also applies to your favorite teacher, your best mentor, a former pastor that's now gone whom you love to the point of idolizing, sinful, imperfect, the authors you love to read, counselors you admire, artists you appreciate, composers whose songs you sing, leaders, coaches, heroes, Bible characters, evangelists, missionaries, martyrs, everyone falls short. Everyone.

So obviously it includes us. A big part of falling short is simply living with imperfections and inadequacies. The inability to perform at the highest level of accomplishment. We can't achieve it.

We may want to, we don't. It is therefore self-defeating for imperfect people to beat themselves up with guilt for failing to accomplish what we were never capable of achieving. You were not built to accomplish 100% success. You cannot achieve perfection. The ideal is out of reach. When we forget that we are imperfect, we give guilt, undeserved power over us.

We are imperfect, so are our kids. Second, we cannot change the past. It is set in stone. What was done was done. There it is.

For whatever reason, there it stands. We would all love to go back and start over, given a second chance in our marriage, starting with our honeymoon. Wouldn't it have been great to have had a good honeymoon? Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have done things right from the get-go, right from the altar? But we didn't. We didn't. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to re-raise our, well, maybe not altogether, but you know what I mean. To have a second chance at doing it right, now that we know what we have learned about making a study of our child and respecting the way God had prepared them during the nine months they're in the womb, so that we can cooperate with the good bents and deal with the wrong and the bad bents within them. And that we could be consistent about it, but we cannot erase yesterday's failures.

That's absolutely impossible. It's a waste of time. Someone as great as Paul the Apostle wrote in Philippians 3, 13 and 14, this one thing I do, I focus on this. Forgetting the past and looking forward to the future, to what lies ahead, I press on.

What a great, great way to live. Oh, what a wonderful way to carry out our lives. But we don't do that. We dredge up the past. We remind others of our past. We often live in the past. And as a result, there it is again, guilt and shame, guilt and shame, dogging our steps, stealing our energy, robbing us of joy, because we are refusing the past.

Think of what Paul had to forget, running with the Pharisees, living in such pride, chasing down Christians, hoping to see them arrested, even killed. All of that was in his past, forgetting the past, looking forward to the future, I press on. Otherwise, he could have never written these letters that instruct us, could have never provided for us what we needed. Look, life is like a coin. We can spend it any way we wish, but we can only spend it once.

Once. We're facing three realities related to our sinfulness. We're imperfect. We cannot change the past.

Here's the third. We are personally responsible for our own wrongs. It is not only a waste, it is unbiblical for us to rationalize around our wrongs, to excuse our wrongs, or to blame someone else for our wrongs. When we do wrong, we are responsible.

Before the alcoholic can ever get free of the addiction, he or she must begin with, I am an alcoholic. Before the prodigal son could ever return home with any sense of plan to go ahead with his life, he must begin with, as he said to the pigs, practicing his speech, I have sinned against you, my father, and against others. David said it in 2 Samuel 12-13 after Nathan confronted him with his adultery, I have sinned against the Lord.

These three realities may seem a strange way to deal with our guilt and shame, but these are starting points. These will break down our pride, humble us, drive us to our knees as a starting place before our God. You don't need to turn, I will read the verses for you. Jeremiah 29 verses 10 and 11, the Lord said this to the Jews following a lengthy period of wrongdoing and disobedience.

Strong words here. This is what the Lord says, you will be in Babylon for 70 years, but then I will come and do for you all the good things I promised. I will bring you home again, for I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.

How great is that? But he said that to those people in Babylon, seven consistent decades, they're away from home. It's a long time to be humbled, to be reminded of their failure. It's where things began, not where they were to end. I will come, I will relieve you of the captivity, I will bring you back to the land to give you a future and a hope. But you must go through Babylon these years.

Some of you have not been broken. You have not acknowledged the truth of your own wrongdoing to those you have offended. Your Babylonian captivity may be a dysfunctional family as a result. It may be a son or daughter who wants little, if anything, to do with you today.

Let me go to the other side. It may not make sense to you because you were a fairly good parent. You did not abuse your child. You did not knowingly embarrass your child or take unfair advantage of her or him. You were a fairly good parent, but look at what happened. Remember, your children are also bent toward wrongdoing.

They have an old sin nature. Just as the prodigal son with that great father he had still did wrong, had to learn his lesson the hard way. For the rest of my time, I want to address getting past all the guilt and all the shame so we can focus our life on recovery and renewal. To get there here is what won't help. Please hear this well. Two things. First, it won't help for you to misinterpret the Scriptures.

Basically, here's what I'm saying. Guard against always and nevers. Guard against making promises airtight. For example, when the Lord says in Proverbs 22, 6, train up a child according to his way and when he was old, he will not depart from it. But the verse does not say that will happen in 100% of the cases. Every child will come back to the Lord.

No, they won't. Some die in their sin. Remember, you're dealing with damaged goods and you yourself are damaged. This makes it complicated. Be careful about the always and nevers in God's Word.

Rarely do we have the freedom to use those words in his promises. Proverbs 22, 6 never guarantees 100% success in the rearing of our children, but chances are good if you are faithful to do what you should do in the rearing of your kids, more often than not, good will occur rather than bad, though there are always exceptions. It doesn't mean it's your fault. Here's another something that won't work is to ignore common sense. Think. Keep thinking. Think when you marry. Think when you have children. Think when things are going wrong. Think with common sense. If anybody on this planet needs common sense in spades, we do as parents.

It played a major role in our parents' lives and it has not gone out of style. Keep paying attention to your gut instincts. Think practically. Think independently. Don't be afraid to think outside the box.

Apply common sense. Chuck Swindoll is just getting started in this practical message for moms and dads. He titled his talk, Getting Past Yesterday's Failures.

This is the final message in a brand new series from Chuck that concludes on Thursday. If you missed any portion of this study or you'd like to dig deeper on your own, remember that every sermon you hear on Insight for Living is paired with online study notes. We call this resource Searching the Scriptures. To take advantage of the free online documents and to dig into the Bible passages in the same way that Chuck does, go to slash studies. If it's a book you're looking to read, let me recommend a classic from Chuck called Parenting from Surviving to Thriving. You know, this would make a fabulous gift for a young family just getting started. To purchase a copy of Chuck Swindoll's book, Parenting from Surviving to Thriving, go to slash store or ask for it when you call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, maybe you can recall the day you first heard Chuck's Bible teaching on the family. We often hear from grateful friends who tell us their personal stories. Well, Insight for Living is infusing biblical truth into families all across the world.

And now through this brand new study from Chuck, it represents the culmination of his Bible teaching and his personal experience as a dad, a grandfather, and a great grandfather. We couldn't provide this daily program or the resources that coincide with it without the financial support from friends like you. As God leads you to give a donation so that others can hear the truth about God's design for marriage and family, we urge you to follow his prompting. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. You can also give online at slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues our study about getting past yesterday's failures. That's next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Getting Past Yesterday's Failures, was copyrighted in 2022 and 2023, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-15 14:14:30 / 2023-05-15 14:22:11 / 8

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