Monday, April 17, 2017

Stop Using the Past As An Excuse

Romans 6:1-4 - What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.

We have all seen comments on social media that say something like: Do not judge me because you do not know what I have been through. We often do not know exactly what people are referring to when they post such things. From the way they phrased the post, we may suspect they have done something wrong that they think people will judge them for. Since they do not want to be judged, they appeal to the pain of their past as an excuse for their current poor behavior.

This is a faulty line of reasoning. While some people have had more pain than others, everyone has something in their past that caused them pain. If we allow the pain of our past to be an acceptable excuse for present poor behavior, then we can justify almost any manner of bad behavior.

Appealing to the pain of our past does not help anyway. Whatever current poor behavior we have engaged in is not making things better. Instead such behavior is so negative that it is causing people to judge us, or at least cause us to feel like we should be judged. We may not have been able to control what happened to us in the past, but we can control how we act today. While it is true that people should not judge each other, it is also true that we should not engage in behavior that deserves judging.

Instead of playing the pain card, we should begin to address the pain of our past and learn to deal with it in positive ways. There are countless examples of people who went through horrific experiences in life but choose to become better instead of bitter. Such overcomers choose to use the pain of the past as a motivation to be a comforting voice to others. They choose to be victors instead of victims. We all have a history, but our history should motivate us to engage in self-improvement, not in self-justification of poor behavior.

Lord, help us move beyond the pain of our past and live lives worthy of our calling to be Christians. Amen.


This devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:


  1. This seems to say we all have an equal opportunity and ability to overcome the pain from which we are recovering... I've not found this to be true. What I have found to be true is God's Sufficiency...

  2. As a pastor and church consultant you here all types of explanations for on going bad behavior. From the congregant it is often "you just don't know what I have been through". And from church boards it is most often "you don't know how many bad pastors we have had". Dr. Dorsett is right on the beam.