I went through a whole series of classroom crushes in my early teens. Some of my crushes lasted a day or two, others months – which earned them several references in my school diaries and classroom note books. They seemed to sustain needless whispered conversations with my girlfriends, which in turn earned me some detention time after school. I cringe when I recall the many ignorant phone calls I had in my early teenage years, the ridiculous discussions on my Sony Ericsson W850i – I blame the days of “5-day pass” (if you know then you know).
You can’t give a 14-year-old unlimited phone calls and texts and expect her conversations to be full of wisdom
You can’t give a 14-year-old unlimited phone calls and texts and expect her conversations to be full of wisdom and insight – you just can’t! Imagine if those doodles, or phone conversations were to resurface now? I’m grateful to God that I was late to join the social media train, so the number of my teenage blunders recorded online are somewhat limited – still there are some I’m sure.
Stormzy 24, Zoella 27 and Jack Maynard 22 probably wish they could say the same. In the last few months, each of these high-profile individuals, have featured in newspaper headlines for social media posts up to eight years old! The UK rapper and two YouTube vloggers have each dealt with the “controversy” differently. Eight years ago I was a very different person, in a very different place in my life; I’m sure you can say the same.
We are in an era increasingly obsessed with the past – specifically past mistakes. As the moral compass of popular culture shifts year by year, tweets once shared publicly without a second thought – years later are causing outrage, and demanding apology. It says a lot about the world’s conveniently changing definitions of right and wrong. It also highlights the fact that the Gospel is the most extreme example of grace and mercy in the history of humanity.
The Gospel is the most extreme example of grace and mercy in the history of humanity
A certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Now I’m not here to say that people should not be held accountable for their past – especially when it has led to the deep pain and suffering of others. This is necessary for justice to be served. However, I will say this – the phenomenon of exposé, airing someones dirty laundry, discovering the skeletons in celebrity closets will never ever cease – because humanity is flawed. In fact since sin came into the world man has been obsessed with the past. Just think back to Cain’s fears expressed in Genesis 4:13-15
And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
This only highlights our desperate need for God’s saving mercy and redeeming grace. Like the woman at the well with a number of male suitors, Moses who murdered a soldier, the woman caught in the act of adultery, king David who conspired his way to having another man’s wife and getting her pregnant – we cannot raise our heads high with dignity, justified, righteous without a generous covering of God’s grace.
Twitter and Facebook may retain the history of our social media activity; we may have old friends and people from our past with memories of us we would rather forget – but God knows every second, minute, hour, day of our lives. He has seen every mistake, every evil conceived in our hearts, heard all the misspoken words from our mouths; He knows every part of who we are – flawed and imperfect.
And He loves us with a perfect love. He desires our salvation. Despite our awful track record, He desires to be our Friend and our Father.
I pray that whilst the world may not change, we will be ready to show mercy to others, and quick to seek and dwell in the mercy and grace of God Almighty that redeems us and enables us to rise up and try again in Jesus name amen.
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again
Peace & Love ❤