Anyone remember playing with their shadows as a kid? It was interesting to learn how the sun’s light determined how large or small our shadow reflected next to us. If you don’t remember that part of science class, shadows are created when an object, such as the stick below, blocks out some of the Sun’s light. The length of the resulting shadow depends on how low or high the Sun is in the sky.
I never really noticed my shadow since I started running, but this Fall I am noticing it a lot. It’s kind of like a mirror where you can check your running form while in motion. I was relieved to see that I don’t look as dorky running as I thought I did. It’s really cool how sometimes during the day your shadow reflects your stature as being about 2 feet tall where as other times of the day it mirrors you as a giant! No matter how fast I run, my shadow is always right there with me. It got me thinking about how our past mistakes can be like those shadows. No matter how far we have come and how many positive steps forward we have taken, some of us are still living in the shadow of our past. Those old things can follow us around like a stalker. So how do we keep those shadows from defining us when we catch a glimpse of our old nature or run into someone from our old lifestyle?
Hebrews 10:1-4Living Bible (TLB)
10 The old system of Jewish laws gave only a dim foretaste of the good things Christ would do for us. The sacrifices under the old system were repeated again and again, year after year, but even so they could never save those who lived under their rules. 2 If they could have, one offering would have been enough; the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all and their feeling of guilt would be gone. 3 But just the opposite happened: those yearly sacrifices reminded them of their disobedience and guilt instead of relieving their minds. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats really to take away sins.[a]
I believe this passage points us to one of the answers. We see in this passage that the old law just reminded people of their disobedience and guilt. If you still have guilt, yet you are aware you’re forgiven in Christ, maybe some part of you is still living under the old law. Are you accepting forgiveness or do you think you still have to make up for your mistakes somehow?
Sometimes it’s the self unforgiveness that shadows us. In self-defense classes, people are taught that if a person is following them, they should turn around quickly and look them directly in the eye and ask them what they want. This usually will deter them as they can see you are not planning on putting yourself in a position to be a victim. You need to confront your guilt and self-hatred in the same manner. Don’t allow it to make you the victim anymore. Confront yourself and ask “What am I going to do about this?”
Pray, journal, share with a trusted friend and pray with them, get counseling. Do whatever it takes to stop seeing that shadow when you look at yourself. Settle this matter once and for all. God is faithful to heal us. He knows our heart. Psalm 63:7 Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
As I mention often, God speaks to us through nature and science in everything He created. If you notice on the stick diagram above, the shadow becomes invisible when the sun is at it’s brightest at noon. It’s the same with us. When Jesus is shining bright in our lives, those shadows are no longer seen because His light is shining so brightly in and through our lives.
Psalm 37:6The Message (MSG)
5-6 Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon.