A mailman with a new route came to a house with a mean-looking German shepherd on the porch. When he approached the mailbox, the dog jumped 20 feet in the air, and then sat down. The owner walked out to check on the commotion. The mailman asked in amazement, “Why did he do that?” The owner replied, “We took his chain off yesterday, and he hasn’t realized it.” The dog was living in the past.
One time, we bought a two-year-old dog from a classified ad. Unfortunately, when we tried to pet the dog, he jumped away. Evidently the dog had been abused and, although we loved him, he wouldn’t let us pet him. We raised a hand of love, but because of the past, he saw a hand to be feared. I’ve discovered that many people live the same way.
A mother looking out her kitchen window saw her children circling a family of skunks. Panicking, she opened the window and called, “Run, run!” Each kid picked up a skunk and ran. Do you feel as if your life is like this? Do you pick up your stinking past and run with it? You might find a new job or a new relationship, but then you pick up your stinking past and run with it.
Vacationing in Italy, a man and his wife took some unforgettable taxi rides through Rome. Although they were seasoned travelers, nothing could have prepared them for the thrill of Roman taxi rides. Few traffic lights slowed them, and with no lane stripes on the wide streets, every day is like the Ben Hur Memorial. Cars speed through blind corners and jockey for position while going around traffic circles. During one trip, the man noticed the cab didn’t have a rearview mirror or side mirrors. When he paid the fare, he couldn’t resist asking the driver about the mirrors. Twisting in his seat, the driver said in broken English and with great intensity, “Mister, if you gonna drive in this city, the first thing you gotta learn is this: Whassa behinda you isa not important!”
That’s life. If you’re going to drive the car of life, you need to realize that “whassa behinda you isa not important.” You must look ahead. On ESPN, I saw a car race where all the cars drive backwards. The cars were banged up from running into each other. That’s how it is with a lot of people. They drive backwards, but God says you will never be what He wants you to be by driving backwards.
Our past is like garbage — you have to take it out. You can’t move it to the garage and leave it, which I’ve been known to do. The garage is like your subconscious. You can put it there, but if you have enough garbage in the garage it will eventually stink up the house. Not only that, someone has to take it away. That’s what God does. He not only takes it away, but He also recycles it. I don’t recycle very much because of all the sorting. God doesn’t make us sort; we just give it to Him. He recycles it and gives it back as a blessing. Remember: What the world wants to bury you with, God can bless you with.
An angry owner took his frustration out on his hard-working horse by throwing it in the trash dump to die. He had his crew pour trash on the horse every hour to bury him alive. The horse shook off the trash and stomped on it. Each time he did this, he rose a little higher. After the third day, he was free. I’m not saying you won’t have trash dumped on you, but God is able to take it and turn it into a treasure.
A particular salesman was very good at selling vacuum cleaners. His technique was to dump dirt all over the client’s furniture and carpet and then vacuum the dirt and make a sale. His sales manager sent him into the rural areas where he used the same technique. At a remote farmhouse, he spread dirt all over the floor and furniture and asked the farmer for the nearest outlet. The farmer said, “Sorry, son, we don’t have electricity in this room.” This man had a lot of dirt and no power. Many people have a lot of dirt in their lives, with no power to get rid of it. God gives us the power to get rid of the dirt and the hurt. He knows you have scars. We all have scars.
A single guy arrived at work with scars on both his ears. A friend asked what happened. He said, “It was terrible. I was ironing my shirt, the phone rang, and I picked up the iron instead of the phone.” “That’s awful,” said his friend, “What happened to the other ear?” The man said, “The guy called back.”
We need to learn from our scars and not do the same dumb things over and over again. We need to learn from our past but not live there. Move on and realize that Jesus had scars. Thomas asked Jesus if He really was the Messiah. Jesus showed Thomas the scars. You’ll carry your scars for the rest of your life, but they can be used for good. Since Jesus had scars, He can handle yours. That means the hurt and the dirt can be good, just as the cross was good.
What do you do with your scars? Because Jesus came out of the hole His enemies put Him in, you can also have the power to stomp on the dirt and walk out. Remember: What the world wants to bury you with, God wants to bless you with.