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The past's place

It was Alfred Lord Tennyson who said, "Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." He also said, "Tis not too late to seek a newer world." With all that is going on in our world today, wouldn't it be grand to seek a "newer world"? We may want to escape just a little of the present in hopes of finding a little bit better of a future - but what we have in the present cannot be ignored. We must deal with the present conflict and sorrow in order to really see change. This is a premise to change - sometimes sorrow leads us to make changes we might not ever see as necessary apart from that sorrow. As Tennyson alluded - wisdom is what lingers once the sorrow has produced the work of turning knowledge into life-change.

10 The kind of sorrow God wants makes people decide to change their lives. This leads them to salvation, and we cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has will bring death. (2 Corinthians 7:10 ERV)

The Corinthian church was pretty upset over some letters they had received from the Apostle Paul, reminding them that they could not tolerate certain unholy practices within their community of believers. It seemed there were some practices just being "tolerated" - a "blind eye" being turned to them even though there was a sense or niggling these practices might just be "wrong". It can be more common than we might first imagine that we "overlook" certain things, knowing full-well they are not "holy" or "right", but for whatever reason, we tolerate them in our midst anyway. Sometimes it is "tolerated" because it makes up part of our "history". At others, it may be overlooked because it doesn't "seem to be that big of a deal". At some point, everything tolerated or overlooked has the potential to become a bigger influence in our lives than we might have imagined!

As these things might come to the surface, God isn't after us to just allow them to remain - he is asking for us to be open to the potential we might just need to deal with them - change won't happen until we do! I have said it before, but it bears repeating because I think this is a tough one for us to learn - change is inevitable, but it is also quite hard at times. Change might just mean we have deal with a little sorrow - the kind of sorrow that drives us to embrace what is not right and then deal with it once and for all (or better yet, we allow God, through his Holy Spirit, to deal with it).

Could it just be possible what some have tolerated for so long as part of their "history" might need some focus right now? History is not always "well-written", nor was it "well-rehearsed". History is what it is - sometimes good and sometimes bad. What is good, we should embrace. What isn't, we should allow God to deal with - using that sorrow as a means by which we might come to the place of embracing holiness in place of what is not. Just sayin!

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