Shame And Grace Part 18 - A New Destiny

Sep 05

Shame And Grace Part 18 - A New Destiny

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 06:51 — Thabo Mokete

By grace we live a new life in spite of anything that happened in the past.1 That means we are freed from the fear of magic from yesterday. In spite of consequences, curses and karma, we have a new destiny.

Fear of the magic of consequences
In our old consciousness, we view consequences of our past actions as judgement. Every painful result appears as a divine act of retribution.

One will say, “I don't see how I can deserve to live a great life after what I did before. I have messed it all up.” It is in this way that many people create a hell in their minds and enter it by themselves. Then, others try to redeem themselves from the haunting shadow of their past by doing all the good things. In time they realize that it does not work. For the good works themselves eventually become an added burden on an already overloaded conscience.

So the big problem is not that there are repercussions to what one did, but the idea that one is judged and their fate is sealed. This is the magic of the fear of consequences.2
This is what brings us to our knees - the finality of judgement that certain outcomes represent to us.

The Reality of Forgiveness
To be forgiven is to be released from this judgment and from the final destiny of being lost.3 This is something that has already happened for the whole human race as displayed by the act of the cross. The apostle Paul makes this point in his letter to the Corinthians. All sins are forgiven.4

That being the case then, this forgiveness is not just an event, it must be revealed (actualized) in the life of every person who stands accused. Forgiveness must become a reality in the day to day lives of human beings.5 Otherwise it is a meaningless concept. For the proof of forgiveness is not found in the absence of consequences, but in the living of a new life and a new destiny in spite of anything from the past.
There is also further decisive proof of forgiveness: When we are able to forgive others for everything wrong they have done and continue to do.6 That is a life of forgiveness – when we are free from being judged and free from judging others. The new reality is a life lived apart from judgement.

But what does this mean for us, release from judgement of the past? It means that the results of past actions no longer make us sad. They can no longer be proof that we are evil and deserve to go to hell. Instead of seeing aftereffects as condemnation, we begin to see them as part of the work of grace in bringing us to the point of turning around.7

There might be that loss of health, loss of wealth, imprisonment, loss of a partner, loss of friends or even the prospect of death itself. In the new reality, we can see how these things work together for a richer, fuller meaning in our lives currently.

For what are painful outcomes if not corrective measures in life?  In the same way that touching a hot stove plate will result in a burn on the hand, we can learn that in the result of actions is not the final judgement, but correction.

So, grace does not do away with consequences. They are there for a very loving reason, since we know God corrects those whom He loves.8

The triumph of grace over consequences
What happened happened. What matters now going forward is what we believe about what happened. The sting of the past is mainly in the belief we now have about it. While the aftereffects of yesterday's actions cannot be avoided, they have no power over what we become eventually. It is our belief about the consequences that has power over what become eventually.

To have entered the new reality by grace is to have a totally radical view of consequences. One sees loving discipline in the them. They become stepping stones towards the new destiny.  

If I have lived a life robbing banks, I might get arrested and put in prison for a long time. If I find grace while in prison, a new life begins for me right there. We do know, with lots of evidence from history that prison cannot stop a new destiny.
This new life then is not a way of undoing the past, or avoiding the results of certain actions. Rather, it is a triumph over being disabled by the judgement of the past.

We have read in the Gospel according to John, the story of a woman who was brought  before Jesus because she had been caught in the act of adultery. Jesus took away the blame of the past from her. Secondly, he told her to go and sin no more. Meaning, to start living the new life now offered her. It was not so much about undoing her past or deleting her history. It was about removing the judgement. It was as if to say to her, 'in spite of your past actions, you have a new destiny now. Start living it.'

New life as triumph over any curse
But the magic of the past is not only in judgement but also in the spell of curses
In religion we have known about the curse very well. From Judaism to African religions there is the common thread of curses from past generations interfering in the life of an individual.
In modern times it comes in the form of inherited qualities from parents or grandparents. If a father was a slave to something, then the child is forever under the fear that the same monkey might climb on his or her back at some stage. One can see even through the science about genes how the way we interact with our environment can strengthen the hold of the magic of a curse.
In spite of religion, and sometimes in the name of it, racism, slavery, tribalism, sexism and other such things flourished by way of the magic of past curses.
The world has come a long way since then, and the current understanding is that such things are rooted in a lack of well-being.9 They are not part of our destiny. It is a magic spell that bewitches the mind of both the perpetrator and the victim. For many, both black and white, this curse is a reality in day to day life. To think other human beings inferior, that is to be under the spell of witchcraft. To think of another group of human beings as essentially superior, that is the same magic spell.
It is only by grace that we break free from these archaic, often socially contrived perceptions.  The conscience gets purified. We begin to see ourselves as we are. Not only ourselves but others as they are too. For in the new reality we are what the other is.

A new destiny and a new path is lined up for those who have accepted the gift that God gives freely. They no longer live merely to adapt to necessity10 (sin), but they progressively transfigure their world through the creative Light11 within them.

1. 2 Corinthians 5:17
2. Berdyaev, Nicolas. The Destiny Of Man. London: Geoffrey Bles, Ltd, 1955.
3. John 3:18; John 5:24
4. 2 Corinthians 5:19
5. 1 John 1:9
6. Luke 11:4
7. Romans 8:28
8. Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11
9. World Health Organization. The World health report : 2001: Mental health : new understanding, new hope. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2001.
10. Romans 12:2
11. John 1:1-9